TTIP Update – 2017

The campaign against TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), in which many of our members were involved, is currently in abeyance; Trump has rejected it and new, different deals will have to be made due to Brexit. However we are still concerned about the consequences of CETA (Canada and Europe) and TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership), and are working with Global Justice Now and other organisations to promote a fair and democratic UK trade policy for the future – deals which complement and support the rest of society.

Of course trade can be a good thing, even though it can bring negative consequences as it increases the environmental impact of transporting goods around the world and can destroy local trade networks and distinctive products. But we need trade which is not just for profit but which respects, even improves, current safeguards.

What a good, democratic UK trade policy after Brexit should look like.  In summary:

  1. Trade agreements should comply with human rights, labour standards, environmental standards and climate commitments. These should shape the contents of the deals.
  2. Issues such as patents, government buying standards, domestic regulation, migration, investment or data privacy should be excluded from trade agreements
  3. Public services should be protected with strong, broad, watertight exclusion clauses
  4. Trade agreements should not include “corporate courts” (Investor State Dispute Settlement – ISDS) which are not transparent and which give foreign companies rights outside the national legal system
  5. Trade agreements should include mechanisms for individuals and communities to bring grievances over harm caused by the agreement
  6. There should be adequate plans for compensation and alternative, decent work for any who lose out as a result of the deal
  7. Governments must be free to introduce new legislation (e.g. banning pesticides which are killing bees) without fear of being sued for billions by corporations with vested interests
  8. Tariffs and trade preferences should be subservient to social and environmental concerns
  9. Trade associations should commit tor raising standards, not lowering them in pursuit of profit. Trade associations must be based on meaningful public consultation, and debated and voted on by parliament.