Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Advancing development through trade

Delivered in Plenary - 16th April 2013

Mr President

The EU started life as a trading bloc, and its most fundamental and appealing quality remains that it is a bastion of free trade in which the wide exchange of goods and services builds prosperity for those who participate in its networks.

This basic principle applies just as well outside the EU, so we welcome the thrust of Mr Svenssonís report, namely that trade should be a key engine for economic development and growth. It is therefore regrettable that the report has been stymied by a series of over-prescriptive paragraphs which detract from the essence of a market-driven approach to development and place far too many restrictions on developing countries and the businesses which might wish to locate there.

Few doubt the importance of corporate social responsibility and labour standards, but subjecting poorer countries to unrealistic standards and goals will choke them economically rather than liberate their development. There must always be compromises between enterprise and responsibility, but this report sadly seems to have missed these. Therefore, for this reason, I and my delegation voted against the report.