Building a Principled, People-Centred Global Economy

Cross-border trade in goods, services, and the movement of people, can all have beneficial impacts for human rights. Increased international trade and investment have led to rapid economic growth and reduction of poverty in many parts of the world. Yet trade measures at the policy level, whether liberalisation or restriction, can have potentially harmful impacts on people throughout the value chain. For those beneficial impacts to be realised and potentially harmful impacts to be mitigated or eliminated, it is important that trade is rules-based and that these rules are consistent with international human rights standards.

IHRB is undertaking a series of work in different areas related to responsible trade to mobilise key actors and address challenges in the trade and human rights arena.

  • Trade in Commodities: Integrating rights-based buying, transporting, blending, storing and selling of commodities.
  • Digital Technology and Trade: Linking human rights risks and the adoption of technology-driven solutions.
  • Transport and Shipping: Responding to risks throughout the full lifecycle, from raw materials sourcing, ship construction and operations, building and maintenance of port facilities, to beaching.
  • Trade Agreements, Sanctions, and Tariffs: Understanding the rights-based impacts of economic sanctions or incentives as well as the inclusion or withdrawal of trade preferences.  
  • China Belt and Road Initiative: Anticipating the human rights implications of the largest global infrastructure programme of the modern era.