Quakers ask 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 prioritise the prospect of short term economic gains over longer term factors necessary to human wellbeing and the protection of the Earth.

Quakers call 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.

On this page

    The future of Britain's trade relations

    There is still uncertainty about what the UK's decision to leave the European Union (EU) will mean 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. In May 2016 Quaker Peace & Social Witness joined with over twenty other organisations in writing to the Secretary of State for International Trade to share the principles which we hope will underpin the UK's future trading relationships.

    The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

    The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was a controversial trade agreement being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. TTIP was nixed in 2016 after widespread opposition throughout the European Union. Quaker Peace & Social Witness continues to have major concerns about trade deals that will follow in its wake. The ideas behind TTIP that could appear in new deals include:

    • TTIP would have included a controversial clause under which foreign companies could sue governments for introducing social, environmental, health or other legislation believed to threaten profitability. This hands over too much power to large corporations, threatening the ability of governments to protect the environment, public health, consumer safety and more.
    • TTIP was 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

    After five years of negotiations bewteen the EU and Canada, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) came into effect in September 2017. CETA is, in many respects, very similar to TTIP. It includes the so-called 'investment court system' (ICS), allowing foreign companies to sue governments if a company believes the government's actions have damaged their ability to make a profit.


    Brexit, TTIP and the future of UK trade policy

    Our 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.


    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.


    Also see the Quakers in Britain media release.

    Images: Flickr: Global Justice Now (CC 2.0); Flickr: Mehr Demokratie (CC 2.0)

    Contact us

    Suzanne Ismail
    Programme Manager, Economic Issues
    020 7663 1055