Donald Trump is 'pulling the strings' over EU trade deal

Monday, 3 February, 2020
  • ‘No alignment’ pledge shows UK is heading for a ‘shock doctrine Brexit’, say campaigners

  • Excessive secrecy means major ‘decisions about our future will be taken by executive fiat’  

As Boris Johnson fires the starting gun on trade talks with the EU and US today, which will change Britain for a generation, campaigners have warned that the country is heading for a ‘shock doctrine Brexit with Donald Trump pulling the strings’.

Campaign group Global Justice Now has warned the British government’s ‘no alignment’ pledge with the EU is being driven by the demands of the US government. Recent leaks from US-UK trade talks have confirmed that US demands are to radically alter the sort of food on sale in Britain after Brexit, undermine farmers’ livelihoods, threaten the NHS, make tackling climate change more difficult, and allow big tech companies like Facebook an effective veto over Britain’s tax policy; all things which would be impossible if Britain were to retain closer alignment with Brussels.  

The unprecedented secrecy around the talks will also mean fundamental choices about Britain’s future being taken under ‘executive fiat’. Global Justice Now, the group which brought the redacted US-UK trade papers to light during the general election, warns that trade deals with both the US and EU will take place under excessive levels of secrecy and executive power, with MPs given much less power then MEPs, MPs from EU member states or US Members of Congress.  

Nick Dearden, Director of Global Justice Now, said: 
“A trade deal with the US would be a bonanza for big business. Agribusiness wants to undercut our existing food standards to allow not just the dreaded chlorine chicken, but also pesticide residues in baby food, hormones in beef and pus in milk. Silicon Valley big tech platforms like Facebook, Amazon and Google want the deal to block regulation of the internet and prevent attempts to make them pay their taxes. And energy companies want a deal to ensure they can keep trading fossil fuels regardless of the climate crisis we are all facing.

“But for all of this to happen, Britain would have to move away from our current standards and protections. That’s what Donald Trump is pushing, and the UK’s current position suggests that he’s succeeded and is pulling the prime minister's strings in these trade talks, pushing us into a ‘shock doctrine Brexit’.

"This should particularly worry us because these trade talks are being conducted with excessive levels of secrecy and without any formal role for MPs. While MEPs and US Congressmen and MPs from other European countries will have a big say over these deals, our MPs have no power to hold the government to account, or to stop a trade deal they don’t like.”  


Photo: Shealah Craighead - The White House

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