Published by: Ruth Bergan Date: Thursday, 30 June 2016
The UK’s decision to leave the EU means that control over trade and investment policy will be transferred back to the UK. Because trade and investment policy impacts on almost every aspect of daily life here and in partner countries, the shape of the new UK approach will be of huge significance.
Successive UK governments have been strong proponents of trade agreements that require significant liberalisation and cover a wide range of issues, from government procurement to standards and regulation, often at a high cost to social and environmental goals such as securing labour rights and tackling climate change. There is therefore a significant risk that the UK approach to trade and investment could go even further in undermining these goals.
However there is also an opportunity. UK organisations and activists from a range of constituencies have long understood the huge importance of trade for achieving everything from poverty reduction to climate targets. Building on decades of campaigning on the World Trade Organisation, Economic Partnership Agreements and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a strong UK movement for trade justice can help to shape UK trade and investment policy that works for people and the planet.
The fight for trade justice is now more important than ever. The Trade Justice Movement will be working with members and allies to develop a clear, progressive vision for UK trade and investment policy. Organisations and activists alike know that the foundations for this lie in the genuine participation of the people who will be affected by these deals and of their political representatives. It also means addressing the huge power imbalances that exist between communities and corporations and between negotiating partners. Finally, it means putting trade at the service of poverty reduction, the protection of human rights and of the environment.