Quakers are asking governments to ensure that trade works for both people and planet.
Properly regulated trade can bring many benefits. However several major trade deals under negotiation are prioritizing the prospect of short term economic gains over longer term factors necessary to human wellbeing and the protection of the Earth.
Quakers are calling for a fundamental rethink of global trade rules so that trade is open to public scrutiny, contributes to fairly shared prosperity and has a positive impact on the environment.
The future of Britain's trade relations
At the moment there is here is a lot of uncertainty about what the UK's recent decision to leave the European Union (EU) means for trade policy.
The UK government has made it clear that developing strong trading relationships outside of the EU is now one of its key objectives. Whatever shape these relationships take it is vital that they promote high standards of social and environmental protection, rather than lowering standards as a means to gain advantage over trade competitors. Quaker Peace & Social Witness recently joined with over twenty other organisations in writing to the new Secretary of State for International Trade to share some of the principles which we hope will underpin the UK's future trading relationships.
We will be monitoring UK trade policy over the coming months and hope to alert Friends and others to campaigning opportunities though this web page and our Earth and Economy e-newsletter.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a controversial trade agreement being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. At the moment we don't know what the UK's decision to leave the EU will mean for our participation in TTIP. However, whether or not the UK will be part of the deal, Quaker Peace & Social Witness continues to have major concerns about TTIP. These include:
- TTIP is set to include a controversial clause under which foreign companies could sue governments for introducing social, environmental, health or other legislation believed to threaten profitability. This will hand over too much power to large corporations, threatening the ability of governments to protect the environment, public health, consumer safety and more.
- TTIP is just one part of a web of major trade deals being pursued by the EU and US. Together these deals could hamper international commitments to tackle climate change and global poverty, including the recently agreed Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is a trade deal that has recently been negotiated between the EU and Canada. CETA is, in many respects, very similar to TTIP. It will also include the so-called 'investment court system' – or ICS which would allow foreign companies to sue governments if a company believes the government's actions have damaged the company's ability to make a profit.
The process of ratifying CETA is expected to start this autumn and it is likely that the UK parliament will be asked to approve the deal.
Quaker Peace & Social Witness will be monitoring developments in UK trade policy over the coming months. Sign up to our Earth and Economy e-newsletter for updates and information on how you can take action.
Brexit, TTIP and the future of UK trade policy
Our latest analysis of what the UK's recent decision to leave the European Union means for trade campaigners.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: a briefing for Friends
This briefing highlights just some of the many concerns about TTIP. Produced jointly with the
Quaker Council for European Affairs.
DOWNLOAD THE BRIEFING
Trade for wellbeing, not just for profit: a shared Quaker statement on TTIP and free trade agreements
This statement was produced by five European and US Quaker organisations and explains why TTIP is the wrong basis for future global trading relationships.
DOWNLOAD THE STATEMENT
Also see the Quakers in Britain media release.
Images: Flickr: Global Justice Now (CC 2.0); Flickr: Mehr Demokratie (CC 2.0)