How can UK trade policy support human rights?

Posted on October 14, 2022
Female garment factory workers.

The Trade Justice APPG is holding an event “How can UK trade policy support human rights?” with the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre on Wednesday 19 October 2022 in Portcullis House from 4.30pm until 5:30pm.

The UK government has made negotiating Free Trade Agreements a key priority of post-Brexit policy. Trade deals have the potential to drive progress on human rights, cementing commitments to international conventions and providing the tools for holding companies accountable for violating rights. Trade policy innovation is happening around the world, including in the US, where President Biden is pursuing a ‘worker-centred’ trade policy. In the meantime, the Department for International Trade has taken the position that “free trade agreements are not generally the most effective or targeted tool to advance human rights issues”.

However, at a time when UK trade negotiations are ongoing with a range of partners including the Gulf, India, Mexico, Israel and the CPTPP bloc, it is vital that the UK's approach to trade and human rights is thoroughly scrutinised.

How might trade deals be used to uphold human rights? What is the risk of the UK current approach, given the current negotiations? Where is the UK at risk of falling behind?

We will be joined by a panel of experts on human rights and trade to explore these issues in depth. The intention is to have a wide-ranging discussion with plenty of opportunity for questions and input from attendees.

Chair: Kenny MacAskill MP


  • Nick Crook (Head of International, Unison)
  • Mustafa Qadri (Chief Executive, Equidem)
  • Clair Gammage (Professor in International Commercial Law, University of Exeter)
  • Lord Purvis of Tweed (invited)


Image by Maruf Rahman, Pixabay