Today the campaign to stop a toxic trade deal with Donald Trump’s United States begins in earnest.
Already, our governments have been meeting for three years to ‘prepare’ for a deal. The papers from these talks, leaked last year, show the ground has been laid for a deal to benefit big corporations on both sides of the Atlantic. And as of midnight last night, they are legally allowed to sign it.
This is not about Leave versus Remain, it’s about corporate power versus people power. Brexit doesn’t have to lead to Trump. And that fight starts now.
Of course, trade deals normally take a long time to negotiate, and this one may be no different. But there is talk of Boris Johnson wanting US talks in parallel with EU talks this year, and Donald Trump wanting a mini-deal before the presidential election in November. Things could move faster than we think. We don’t have a moment to lose in building our campaign.
Our opponents are relying on us to give up. As one minister told the New Statesman before Christmas, they are confident a US-UK trade deal will happen because “after the election, [we] will have a majority and no-one will care.”
In the coming months, we need to give them the shock of their lives. We need to resist this toxic trade deal for as long as it takes.
Can you help by joining Global Justice Now as a member today? It’s thanks to our members that we can have the stability, flexibility and strength to stand up to corporate power, and to plan and win our campaigns.
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So far, in conjunction with allies, we have already had some significant wins. During the general election campaign, we forced Johnson to pledge to keep the NHS off the table in US trade talks. We also won a line in the Conservative manifesto specifically on drug prices. And a few weeks ago, environment secretary Theresa Villiers made pledges on chlorine chicken and hormone beef.
But we know this prime minister has gone back on his words many times before. From the Heathrow third runway, to a border down the Irish Sea, he can be expected to wriggle out of his commitments as and when it suits him.
With Donald Trump in the White House, there will be every pressure to do so. Just on Thursday the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, insisted chlorinated chicken would have to be part of a deal. And the former British ambassador in Washington, Kim Darroch, confirmed that Trump will demand the NHS pays higher drug prices in return for a deal.
The only counter-weight to corporate America is us. We need to keep this campaign in the spotlight, and keep building opposition to a toxic trade deal, until the public pressure is impossible to ignore. It’s how we helped turn TTIP – the Transatlantic-Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and US – from an inevitability into something too politically toxic to pursue.
Stuart, Global Justice Now relies on people like you up and down the country to keep holding politicians to account as it becomes increasingly challenging to do so. As a member, you will be part of a growing movement for global justice. Can you join today?
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Together, we can stop this toxic trade deal with Trump, and with it strike a significant blow against corporate control around the world.
Thank you for everything you do for our campaigns.
Campaigner at Global Justice Now