News / Good Trade Campaign

MPs call for Parliamentary Scrutiny of trade deals

MPs are calllng on government to ensure that future trade deals are open to proper scrutiny by the public and parliament.

A group of MPs has called for greater Parliamentary scrutiny of trade deals. A Parliamentary petition tabled on 4th July, championed by Green MP Caroline Lucas, calls for:

  1. The right of Parliament to set a thorough mandate to govern each trade negotiation, with a remit for the devolved administrations
  2. The right of the public to be consulted as part of setting that mandate
  3. A presumption of full transparency in negotiations
  4. The right of Parliament to amend and to reject trade deals, with full debates and scrutiny guaranteed and a remit for the devolved administrations, and 
  5. The right of Parliament to review trade deals and withdraw from them in a timely manner.

Sustain is supportive of this call, arguing that the the UK’s departure from the European Union has profound implications for our food, farming and fishing. Sustain's Campaign for a Better Food Britain seeks to ensure the best possible outcome for the UK’s food, farming and fishing industries, for citizens and the environment.

The new UK Trade Bill - announced in the Queen's Speech in June 2017 - could pave the way for undermining the UK's high standards for food, farming and fishing, including principles and rights. A better outcome would be for the Trade Bill to make clear that important protections are not up for negotiation - including food safety and quality standards; consumer rights and protections; environmental protection; workers’ rights; measures to tackle trafficking and modern slavery; labour conditions and skills; sustainable international development; organic food and farming standards; animal welfare; animal and plant health; chemical and pesticide controls; and poverty and inequality reduction.

The Trade Bill should also set out the UK’s approach to new development-friendly trade policy, for example by ensuring that UK trade and investment policies are compatible with international commitments on the environment, climate change, human rights and UN Sustainable Development Goals. It should protect the UK’s existing approach to development-friendly trade policy by guaranteeing current preferential trading arrangements with developing countries, with the UK’s purchases of goods worth about £34 billion from the world’s poorest countries. Further, it should ensure trade agreements do not prevent the world’s poorest countries from developing their manufacturing and service sectors.

Find out more about Sustain's work on Brexit and key UK legislation at:

Published 4 Jul 2017

Good Trade Campaign: Campaigning for good trade that benefits people and the planet at home and overseas.

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