Safe trade

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Safe trade is a slogan advocated by Greenpeace in its desire to "green" the World Trade Organisation and the Doha Development Round. It is designed to compete with "free trade" as a concept.

Safe trade is generally seen as a single framework of rules worldwide to drastically inhibit the flow of alien organisms (e.g. Genetically modified organisms, imported animals) across the borders of ecoregions, to preserve their natural wild biodiversity. It seeks to prevent ecological disasters caused by imported organisms or untested genetic technologies, and to augment and increase local natural capital by encouraging soil remediation, precision agriculture, and local consumption of the native species, rather than imported organisms and heavy use of pesticides.



An important achievement of safe trade advocacy is the Biosafety Protocol agreed in Montreal in January 2000. Although it relied on the weaker legal principle of Informed Consent and not the much stronger Precautionary Principle language sought by advocates, the protocol was considered by most to be a victory that could enhance both biosafety and biosecurity.

Other safe trade reforms seek to advance sustainability by reducing reliance on energy subsidies and oil-based transport, and (indirectly) improves equity in economic affairs - that is, it promotes a safer political economy which is more respectful of life in general.

Safe trade is a major goal of systems of Bioregional democracy and is often advocated alongside it, e.g. by Greens. Both are also implicitly related to Community-Based Economics, as local trade in local goods with no reliance on alien organisms presents no ecological risk to its genomes, soil, or drainage basins. Accordingly, some advocates argue, local trade in any native species within an ecoregion's borders should not be taxed at all, as it presents little or no ecological risk compared to imported goods, and so requires little or no regulation, labelling, inspection, or other expenses.

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