We can defeat the US trade deal, whoever is in the White House

We can defeat the US trade deal, whoever is in the White House

By: James O'Nions
Date: 8 October 2020
Campaigns: Trade

This November, the US presidential election offers Americans a stark choice. Yet while the rest of us don’t get even get that choice, we will surely be affected by the results. On the most basic level, Trump’s rejection of multilateralism makes the world a more dangerous place. Pulling funding for the World Health Organisation in the middle of a pandemic is a case in point. And there is little doubt his election gave and gives confidence and succour to some of the most odious characters in global politics, from Bolsonaro in Brazil to Duterte in the Philippines.

In the UK there is little doubt that Trump’s continuing presidency will make it easier for Johnson’s government to strike a trade deal with the US. Trump sees ideological allies in the Brexiteers, and knows a US-UK trade deal will help him undermine the European Union.

Yet when it comes to the detail of the deal, it is US corporations pushing for chlorinated chicken, access to the NHS and much more. Those corporate lobbyists got a sympathetic hearing from the Trump administration, but they will still be around should Biden win in November. TTIP, the failed US-EU deal, was an Obama era initiative after all, and while Biden faces a very different political context, he still comes from the same stable. Our main advantage with Biden will not be that he’s opposed to a trade deal with the UK, but that it will not be such a political priority for him. That doesn’t mean it wouldn’t happen.

The deal has actually faced significant opposition in the UK, not just from Johnson’s usual opponents, but also from farmers and in the pages of the Daily Mail. Polling suggests a huge majority of the public in general don’t want to see standards undermined by the deal. That means our strategy has to be to continue to make the deal more and more toxic, forcing the government to make concessions to UK public opinion that eventually make the deal not worth doing for US corporations.

Our day of action against the deal on 24 October will be a chance to say loudly and clearly, whoever wins the US election, we don’t want a trade deal.

Join the day of action against the US trade deal

Join and share the Facebook event page

Find out more about what you can do on the day

This blog post is also the editorial column of our monthly activist newsletter, Think Global. Read the latest issue and sign up to receive it by email or in the post.