SECO promotes trade that is socially responsible, environmentally friendly, inclusive and thereby sustainable. It strengthens the export and competitive position of companies in the partner countries and facilitates imports to European markets.
International trade supports an efficient global division of labour, creates jobs and makes an important contribution to reducing poverty. Developing and transition countries benefit best from this if they can adhere to globally recognised rules that guarantee free and non-discriminatory access to international markets.
At the same time, trade can also contribute to promoting the application of environmental and social criteria in developing and transition countries. This calls for suitable framework conditions that enable the private sector to better utilise resource-efficient technologies and put the core ILO labour standards into practice.
It is becoming more important to include poorer communities, who often work in agriculture or the informal sector. These participate less in international trade, most of which takes place in urban areas. This can result in increasing inequality and lead to further social consequences in a country. Sustainable trade that also encompasses agricultural producers and the informal sector is therefore an inclusive approch integrating all stakeholders.