3.2 Policy coherence

Trade and investment agreements [page 20-21]

“Incorporating the OECD Guidelines and UN Guiding Principles in trade and investment agreements was one of the suggestions made during the consultations.

The government is committed to including clear provisions on the relationship between trade, investment and sustainability in trade and investment agreements. Within the EU, the Netherlands urges the inclusion in these agreements of a section on trade and sustainable development, with monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. The aim is for parties to reaffirm their commitment to fulfilling their ILO obligations to eliminate child labour and forced labour and to working together to this end. Agreements also need to be made on cooperating on and promoting CSR, through the OECD Guidelines, for instance. For the Netherlands, involvement of civil society organisations is an essential component of any agreement.

The EU’s aim is for every trade agreement to be linked to a broader partnership and cooperation agreement reaffirming states’ human rights obligations. Where human rights are abused, the trade agreement could ultimately be suspended. …

The Lisbon Treaty gave the EU exclusive competence on direct foreign investment. With this shift, which does not apply to every aspect of investment, the EU now negotiates investment treaties together with the member states. Each EU investment agreement will most likely contain a separate section on environment, labour, sustainability and transparency, dealing with these issues in greater detail. The Netherlands is very much in favour of including such sections in all future EU investment protection agreements.”