Category Archives: trade

The Trade Bill is an opportunity for MPs to ‘take back control’ and protect the environment

INTEXT-CATTLEThis post is by David Lawrence, senior political adviser at the Trade Justice Movement. 

The UK has not had the power to strike its own trade agreements for nearly 50 years, due to EU membership. However, many people – and indeed many MPs – will be surprised to learn that, even after Brexit, parliament will have virtually no say over our trade agreements. Read more

The UK risks old fashioned trade deals that completely ignore the environmental crisis

dave-sandoval-bHjmU1SRzTg-unsplash (1)This post is by Tom West, UK environment lead at ClientEarth.

Where does your stuff come from? It’s a classic environmental refrain to consider the origin of the clothes you wear, the food you eat and all the general stuff you accumulate. So the UK government’s ambitions to sign new trade deals and open our markets to new goods from around the world is really very relevant to those who care about how things are made. Read more

UK-EU trade negotiations: the level playing field is at risk of ‘regression by default’

intext-puffinsThis post is by Andy Jordan and Brendan Moore, who are respectively co-chair and research associate at Brexit&Environment.

The fate of the trade negotiations between the EU and the UK will hinge on the ability of both sides to strike a deal on the so-called ‘level playing field’ provisions that prevent either side from lowering (or ‘regressing’) their environmental standards to secure a competitive advantage. Read more

In post-Brexit trade plans it’s all talk and no action on the environment

post Brexit trade smallThis post is by Hatti Owens, ClientEarth UK environment lawyer

From the UK’s global carbon footprint to the quality of the products we import, trade deals have real world impacts on the environment. How the UK decides its future trade policy outside the protection of the European Union is of real importance.

With some politicians and groups – such as the Institute for Economic Affairs – calling for deregulation, environmentalists might, therefore, take heart from the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, which states that “environmental sustainability should be at the very heart of global production and trade”.

It’s a lovely sentiment, but unfortunately yet to be borne out by reality. Read more

How not to solve plastic pollution

plastic bottles square“As petroleum came to the relief of the whale,” said an 1878 promotional pamphlet for the world’s first industrial plastic, “so has celluloid given the elephant, the tortoise, and the coral insect a respite in their native haunts, and it will no longer be necessary to ransack the earth in pursuit of substances which are constantly growing scarcer.” Read more

The new Agriculture Bill has no vision for food

This post is by Tim Lang, professor of food policy, Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London. It has also been published by the Food Research Collaboration.

Tomatoes production line bodyThe Agriculture Bill published last week was long awaited. It’s mostly about money: those £3.2bn Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidies which will start evaporating in seven months.

Read more

How serious is the government about high standards for food and farming?

Various vegetables on display in grocery storeMost of us don’t have to think too much about the food we eat, beyond “what on earth am I going to cook this evening?” We assume there will be food we want at an affordable price, and that, if it is on the shelf, it is safe to eat and has been produced to acceptable environmental and welfare standards. But the new trade relationships we negotiate after Brexit could present significant risks to the UK’s food system which could put an end to this confidence. Read more