Willy Cretegny: “Free trade is extremely damaging for the planet”

Willy Cretegny: “Free trade is extremely damaging for the planet”
Willy Cretegny: “Free trade is extremely damaging for the planet”

Read the full news https://www.en24news.com/131346/2021/01/willy-cretegny-free-trade-is-extremely-damaging-for-the-planet-2.html

- Advertisement -

The Swiss vote on March 7 on the free trade agreement with Indonesia. Beyond the disputed issue of palm oil, it is the entire mechanism that must be questioned, believes the referendum and organic winegrower Willy Cretegny, because it only follows a logic of profit to the detriment of resource management.

This content was published on January 26, 2021 – 12:35

January 26, 2021 – 12:35 PM

Marie Vuilleumier

Should Switzerland implement the free trade agreement signed with Indonesia? This is the question that citizens will have to answer on March 7.

Read the full news https://www.en24news.com/131346/2021/01/willy-cretegny-free-trade-is-extremely-damaging-for-the-planet-2.html

The treaty makes it possible to facilitate Swiss exports by removing almost all customs taxes and certain technical obstacles. Customs duties are also eliminated for industrial goods imported into Switzerland. Tariff reductions are planned for certain agricultural products, for example palm oil, of which Indonesia is the world’s leading exporter.

Read the full news https://www.en24news.com/131346/2021/01/willy-cretegny-free-trade-is-extremely-damaging-for-the-planet-2.html

The agreement contains a specific article on sustainable development, in which the parties undertake to preserve the environment as well as to respect human and workers’ rights. It is specified that palm oil can only benefit from a reduction in customs taxes if it is produced in a sustainable way.

Willy Cretegny is at the origin of the referendum against this agreement, with in particular the support of the Swiss Ecologist Party, the young Greens and the socialist youth. For this organic winegrower based in the canton of Geneva, it is the whole functioning of trade that must be questioned.

swissinfo.ch: What bothers you about the principle of free trade?

Willy Cretegny: Its objective is to reduce or eliminate all tariff and non-tariff measures, which are extremely important to allow fair trade and avoid distortion of competition. Taxes rebalance prices from one economy to another and have a crucial impact on a major problem: overconsumption. With free trade, we have access to a lot of goods at costs that have no connection with our purchasing power, so we always consume more. And the distortion of competition wipes out entire sections of the local economy, whether here or elsewhere.

I often take the example of IKEA which produces the majority of its furniture at low cost in Asia, imports it to Europe and Switzerland with virtually no tax and then sells it at greatly reduced prices, which has destroyed most of the manufacturers. furniture from our regions. Employees are paid according to the collective agreement, but these are wages that require state assistance for their housing and for their health insurance. And in the end, the family that owns the company is one of the richest in Switzerland. By removing tariff measures, free trade is a tool for tax exemption.

a man

Organic winemaker Willy Cretegny. Keystone / Salvatore Di Nolfi

What do you offer instead?

I advocate for win-win trade agreements for exporting and importing countries, to allow all local economies to function. I am simply proposing to recognize the importance of tariff and non-tariff measures.

This is called protectionism, but for me it is a policy of openness because it is based on respect for the choices of each people, while the WTO and free trade agreements are based only on the growth of trade as well. than profit. Today we are leveling, we are standardizing, we are developing a system that is extremely damaging to the planet in terms of the environment, pollution and overconsumption.

Switzerland should lead by example. Of course, we cannot change our practices overnight, because we are already involved in several agreements. But today we must give a different mandate to our negotiators so that the treaties take into account these societal and environmental issues and that they aim to ensure respect for local standards.

You believe that the sustainability requirements introduced in the free trade agreement with Indonesia are not sufficient. For what reasons?

Read the full news https://www.en24news.com/131346/2021/01/willy-cretegny-free-trade-is-extremely-damaging-for-the-planet-2.html

The parties have agreed not to submit to arbitration in the event of a dispute Chapter 8 of the agreement, which specifically concerns sustainable development. This means that they consider these elements to be of little importance, in any case not enough to call into question the other terms of the treaty. It is therefore a requirement of durability that offers few guarantees.

You say in your argument that sustainable palm oil does not exist. Why?

Indonesia has deforested a lot of land in recent years to promote the export of this product. Even certified organic, palm oil has often required the disappearance of part of the tropical forest.

And importing palm oil here means transporting a commodity from the other side of the planet, which is not sustainable. Especially since we cover part of our needs with our local vegetable oils, rapeseed and sunflower, and the rest with oils imported from Europe, such as olive oil.

Isn’t this article on sustainability in the free trade agreement already a first step towards more environmentally friendly exploitation in Indonesia?

It makes sense to do sustainable agriculture in Indonesia, not to make palm oil in Indonesia for export to Switzerland or European countries. You have to have a global vision of sustainability.

In the manufacture of foodstuffs, today we have replaced almost all of our oil needs by palm oil, with the sole driving force behind a financial interest since this product costs almost nothing. This is the major problem of free trade: we are no longer at all in a logic of resource management, but only in a logic of market and profit.

This agreement with Indonesia also allows Swiss companies to export their products on better terms. You do not want to support the Swiss economy?

I do not support an economy that destroys. Free trade puts all countries in competition, so it is a race for advantage. If we were to trade with tariffs and non-tariff measures, products and services would be chosen on the basis of their quality and not just their price.

Today, I fully understand that the export industries and domestic production are having difficulty turning, because they are under pressure from world prices. This is untenable, we are forced to sacrifice everything to achieve it.

I am a defender of the economy, but of an economy that has margins, guarantees for the sustainability of businesses and jobs. Today, we are weakening the local economy and we are increasingly faced with huge groups. We are losing control.

How do you explain that many associations for the defense of the environment, such as Public Eye or Greenpeace, do not support you?

According to our information, they do not support the process for purely political questions. WWF, for example, is a partner in certification bodies. These groups also have locals and fear for their future there.

Unfortunately, these associations are satisfied with an entry on sustainable development in an agreement, even if it offers few guarantees. They have not understood that it is the principle of free trade and its policy of destruction that must be called into question.

These were the details of the news Willy Cretegny: “Free trade is extremely damaging for the planet” for this day. We hope that we have succeeded by giving you the full details and information. To follow all our news, you can subscribe to the alerts system or to one of our different systems to provide you with all that is new.

It is also worth noting that the original news has been published and is available at en24 news and the editorial team at AlKhaleej Today has confirmed it and it has been modified, and it may have been completely transferred or quoted from it and you can read and follow this news from its main source.

PREV Texas shooting: Uvalde survivor, 11, says smeared blood on herself to hide from shooter
NEXT 25 persons emerge from shell-pounded steel complex in Mariupol