The UK is currently intent on negotiating new trade deals which will then have ongoing liabilities
We know the EU’s trade agenda is a Bill of Rights for transnational corporations, threatening sovereignty, labour rights and jobs, health, safety and environment.
What do we want for our post-referendum UK?
DEMAND THAT ANY TRADE DEALS THAT THE UK IS PARTY TO:
- Exclude any form of investor state dispute settlement (ISDS gives corporations rights to sue governments in private courts)
- Explicitly exclude all public services
- Exclude financial deregulation from the scope of any trade agreement As the global financial crisis was precipitated by financial deregulation regulation of this industry must not be limited by trade deals
- Completely protect the rights of all levels of government to regulate in the public interest in the UK and in the trading partner states
- Completely protect governments’ public procurement from enforced liberalisation so that local and national development can be prioritised
- Protect labour rights, human rights, digital rights and the environment, with effective enforceability mechanisms against corporations and states that fail to respect those rights
- Maintain the primacy of the precautionary principle for public health and safety and disallow any lowering of food, chemical or other health and safety standards, overtly or covertly for the purpose of trade deals
- Ensure the legal primacy of climate change commitments and measures over energy liberalisation commitments and investor rights.
The UK will be in the EU’s currently negotiated deals until Brexit if we are in the EU when these new deals are fully or provisionally implemented,. Then we will exit the deals, but with ongoing liabilities.
This is likely with CETA (EU/Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) and possible with the EU/Singapore free trade agreement and TTIP (US/EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). With the plurilateral Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), although the EU negotiates, we participate as separate countries – so in unless we pull out if the deal goes ahead.
With CETA, the European Commission has conceded that member state parliaments (though not ours) will need to ratify before full implementation.
However it has also proposed provisional implementation – for which there is no reverse mechanism, so the deal is effectively in action anyway. And if the European Court of Justice decides that the parallel EU/Singapore Agreement is sole Commission competency, the Commission may then claim sole competency for CETA, so no member state parliament ratification and full implementation.
It is very likely that the UK will still be in the EU when at least CETA is implemented. With full implementation, there would be an ongoing 20 year liability, including ISDS. If provisionally implemented – a 3 year overhang.
The UK government is be proactive in pushing these deals through, while still an EU member. At the same time, the UK is looking to sign its own trade agreements, including its trading arrangements with the EU.
Referendum reporting presented any and all trade deals as highly desirable, without reference to the dangers.
Now is the time to assert a positive agenda for any trade agreements in which the UK is involved, as part of an overall positive Brexit agenda.