Campaigners slam 'secret' trade talks at heart of Trump visit

Thursday, 12 July, 2018
  • Opposition to US-UK trade deal a key issue for Stop Trump protests

  • MPs due to vote on 'power grab' Trade Bill on Tuesday

As UK trade secretary Liam Fox prepares to greet President Donald Trump on arrival at Stansted airport today, Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, a leading member of the Stop Trump Coalition, said:
 
“Trump’s visit to Britain is about pulling the UK closer to Trump, including laying the ground for a TTIP-style trade deal with the US which would threaten our NHS, financial regulations and food standards. When Theresa May invited Trump on a state visit, only one week after his inauguration and with total disregard for his disgraceful, racist rhetoric and policies, she clearly wanted to create a much deeper relationship with the US – one that would cement deregulation, liberalisation and privatisation into the British economy for decades to come.
 
“Just in the last week the government has had more secret talks with the US and they will talk trade this coming weekend. These talks happen with no accountability to the British public or even parliament. But we know enough to be able to work out that such a trade deal would affect everyone in Britain, and would lock in the ‘market knows best’ approach which has created such unsustainable levels of inequality and alienation in our society – never mind the damage it has done to the climate. On Friday, we will join with tens of thousands of people who will say ‘we don’t want this sort of trade deal with Trump.’”
 
On the Chequers deal, Dearden said:
 
“Some people may feel that none of this matters anymore, because the government’s ‘Chequers deal’ negotiated last week will make a trade agreement with the US less likely. Don’t be deceived. The EU is unlikely to ever accept this deal anyway and even if they did it wouldn’t protect us from US multinationals suing the British government in secret courts, taking over parts of our public services, or gaining even more power over our personal data. We must use the debate on the Trade Bill next week to give control over trade policy to parliament and the people.”

Notes

1. Fox confirmed in an appearance before the International Trade select committee yesterday that US-UK trade working group talks had taken place on Monday and Tuesday this week. The talks have remained secret and Freedom of Information requests for what they have been discussing have been refused.

2. The Trade Bill is due to be voted on by MPs on Tuesday 17 July. A huge range of groups from civil society to business have called for a framework with substantial stakeholder consultation, which the Bill fails to introduce.

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