Civil society group calls for reset of UK’s trade relationships to support a fairer and greener trade

Posted on July 10, 2024
Cargo ship in port seen from above

The Trade Justice Movement is calling upon the UK Government to begin a new chapter of responsible and progressive trade policy.

The Labour government has committed to producing a new trade strategy, and a new report released today outlines what this strategy must do to reset the UK’s trading relationships and support a global transition towards a greener and more equal world.

Tom Wills, Director of the Trade Justice Movement, said:

With a new government comes a huge opportunity to move past the chaotic approach to trade which the UK has taken over recent years”

“Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour should adopt a trade strategy that supports ambitious climate action, protects human rights, and promotes sustainable development. Trade policy doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it’s a way of furthering our environmental, social and diplomatic goals. A comprehensive trade strategy will not only bring clarity and direction but also ensure that the UK’s trade agreements align with its values and commitments”.

“The era of pursuing trade agreements for their own sake - with scant economic benefit and minimal commitments to people and planet - must come to an end. Instead, the UK has an opportunity to lead the way on the world stage towards a fairer and more sustainable global trade system”.

In its ‘Model Trade Strategy’, the Trade Justice Movement sets out what a new chapter of UK trade policy should look like. It lays out six crucial questions that any UK trade strategy must answer:

  1. Democracy: How will trade policy be negotiated transparently and democratically?

  2. Human Rights and Labour Rights: How will the UK’s trade agreements uphold fundamental rights, both domestically and internationally?

  3. Environment: How will UK trade policy support ambitious climate action and high environmental protections?

  4. Development: How can sustainable development and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals be placed at the centre of the UK’s approach to international trade?

  5. Corporate Accountability: How can UK trade policies help to hold corporations accountable for supply chain abuses?

  6. Digital Trade: How can trade rules ensure the UK is able to regulate the digital economy now and in the future?

Download the full report here.