‘Reckless’ to restart US-UK trade talks in midst of pandemic, campaigners say

‘Reckless’ to restart US-UK trade talks in midst of pandemic, campaigners say

Date: 2 May 2020
Campaigns: Pharma, Trade

Reacting to reports that US-UK trade talks are to restart virtually next week (1), Jean Blaylock, trade campaign and policy manager at Global Justice Now, said:

“This would be a high risk trade deal at the best of times, but to try and embark on negotiations in the midst of a pandemic crisis when government and society are stretched to the limit is reckless in the extreme.

Coronavirus has exposed the flaws in the pro-corporate agenda that this trade deal is intended to entrench – from weakening public services, to bringing the market into health care, driving up medicine prices and lowering safety standards. None of these changes will improve our lives.

Chlorinated chicken has become an iconic symbol of the risks to animal welfare and food standards from a US-UK trade deal. Yet it takes on even more significance at a time when the need for strong animal welfare and environmental standards to avoid future transmission of novel viruses from animals to humans is painfully clear.

Whatever Johnson and Trump’s rhetoric, the deal will have very little impact in getting the real economy going again. The most optimistic estimates predict at most a fraction of a percent in growth. All this type of deal will do is tie the hands of the government at a time when they need full scope to provide economic stimulus, a green recovery and to protect jobs.

We know both sides have already pledged to keep all the details secret not just during the negotiations but for five years afterwards. With this level of secrecy, parliament and the public will have no say on the deal being sewn up behind closed doors.”

(1) Britain to start US trade talks next week with Donald Trump ‘desperate to do a deal’, The Sun, 1 May 2020


Photos: White House/D. Myles Cullen, Pippa Fowles/No 10 Downing Street