Category Archives: trade

The government’s green trade report recognises the environmental challenge

This post is by Dr Carolyn Deere Birkbeck, director of the Forum on Trade, Environment and the SDGs (TESS) and senior research associate at the University of Oxford’s Global Economic Governance Programme.

The recent Green Trade report from the UK Board of Trade marks an important step in the development of the UK’s approach to international trade as it recognises the critical relevance of trade and trade policies to the big environmental challenges of our time.

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How can the UK be a credible trading nation without a trade policy?

This post is by Anna Sands, trade policy specialist at WWF-UK.

In the past few weeks, a “ferocious” battle has taken place in the cabinet around whether a ‘zero tariff zero quota’ trade deal should be agreed with Australia. With trade secretary Liz Truss on one side, and environment secretary George Eustice on the other, the internal conflict has played out loudly across national and international media.

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We need a UK law to stop companies profiting from destruction and abuse

This post is by Tom Wills, project manager – corporate accountability and trade at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.

Last month, the European Union took a major step towards passing a new law to stop businesses from abusing human rights and destroying the environment around the world. The EU’s proposed ‘corporate due diligence’ law would help to tackle the widespread abuse of workers and the environment in the supply chains of European companies. This progress in Europe accentuates the failure of the UK government to take similar action.

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US import protections show how the UK can set high, WTO compliant food trade standards

This post is by Megan Waters, international trade advisor to WWF-UK and former US trade negotiator.

Last summer, the public in the UK – showing far more passion on the subject than many in Whitehall would have expected – spoke nearly with one voice on the subject of food.  They made clear that they do not want food standards undermined as part of trade negotiations with the United States, or with anyone else for that matter.

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Will joining the CPTPP tarnish the UK’s green credentials?

This post is by Aradhna Tandon, policy assistant in the Greener UK unit at Green Alliance

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss announced recently that the UK had submitted its request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trade agreement between 11 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The US played a central role in the initial negotiations but withdrew when it failed to gain domestic support to join the trading bloc.

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‘Red wall’ swing voters support strong food regulations and standards

This post is by Emma Rose, director at Unchecked UK.

The UK’s departure from the EU has triggered a number of deregulatory pronouncements from Number 10. Boris Johnson’s recent recent call to business leaders to help identify regulatory flotsam for the scrapheap (a suggestion not greeted with much approval by the business community) was followed by last week’s announcement of a new Better Regulation Committee, tasked with cutting EU red tape for businesses.

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Brexit: the next phase

We finally have a Trade and Co-operation Agreement (TCA) between the UK and EU. This is good news. No deal was always the worst possible option.

The agreement is good on climate, pays lip service to the concept of sustainable development and affirms the parties’ determination “to maintain and improve” environmental and other standards (p182). But Greener UK’s preliminary analysis concludes that it gives little certainty that standards will not be lowered in the future.

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