The secrecy at the heart of the trade deal with Trump
03 December 2019
Every step of the way so far, the talks between the US and UK about a post-Brexit trade deal have been cloaked in secrecy. That’s the way the governments both countries seem to prefer to operate.
We made a request to the UK government many weeks ago for details of the US-UK trade talks to be made public, but they refused. So we then used the Freedom of Information law to request it, at which point we were sent 451 pages of blacked out text. It took a leak of the original document for us to be able to finally see the details on all those pages. And when we read through them, we realised why they wanted to keep it a secret.
Because the US want access to our NHS, they want to be able to sell us food that’s been produced to lower environmental and animal welfare standards than we have here, they want us to make changes to our medicine prices (which would mean high prices here), and they want multinational corporations to be able to sue governments in secret courts if they take decisions in the interests of the public and the environment but which may affect business profits.
The leaked documents also showed us that both sides are planning on restricting the use of Freedom of Information laws to make it even harder for the public to get information in the future. That’s a restriction on the very legislation that we used to get hold of the papers that we have.
Along with the secrecy in these talks, there’s also a complete lack of transparency and scrutiny for parliamentarians to have any say over this trade deal, or any others that the UK government may make. We have a long running campaign to change these rules. We want the government to be upfront about what is and isn't on the table for any trade deal they make, and for parliamentarians in London and the devolved nations of the UK to be given a say on the details as well as a final vote on whether a trade deal should go ahead.
Until we succeed in that, we need to halt the trade deal that the UK government is doing with Trump’s America.