Most of us would or will welcome a trade deal with the European Union if it does not impose unreasonable conditions on Britain.

The same cannot be said for a deal with the United States, even under President Biden. U.S. food and environmental standards are inferior compared with those which apply in Britain and the EU.

The US agricultural system is based on the use of chemicals and of animal farming on an industrial scale. British farmers are nervous that a trade deal could allow US producers to undercut them with cheaper low quality food.

The movement of goods around the world is associated with the burning of fossil fuels, destruction of rain forests, pollution of the oceans and unsustainable air transport.

Other things are wrong with trade deals. Often they are as much about regulation as they are about reducing tariffs. Clauses allow multilateral companies to sue governments for loss of profits and to ride roughshod over environmental safeguards.

The Trade Bill which has been going through Parliament is designed to ease our exit from the EU and to negotiate our own deals. But it would let the Government push through trade deals with little chance for discussion.

The US trade talks are well underway but we do not know what concessions the Government has made already.

Ironically it is our unelected House of Lords who have tried to put a brake on this steam rollering. They have recently approved two amendments to the bill, one which requires a parliamentary debate before a deal can be agreed, and the other which aims to protect the NHS from control outside the UK.

Two campaigning organisations, Global Justice Now and We Own It, are asking people to lobby their MP to support the amendments when the bill is reconsidered by the House of Commons in 2021.

The six Gloucestershire MPs are Conservative so we will not be holding our breath.

David G Evans,

Cheltenham Activists Network.

 

(This article first appeared n the Gloucestershire Echo on 24th December 2020)

This article in the Echo
This article in the Echo

The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in these articles are those of local Party members and do not necessarily reflect the Labour Party.

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