The Co-op Party has launched a petition calling for the UK’s trade deals after Brexit to give fair treatment to developing countries.
It says this is in line with the co-op movement’s campaign, with other organisations, over the past two decades to “Make Trade Fair”. Echoing the fears of other campaigners in the wake of the Brexit vote, the Party warns that “many of the protections we have successfully fought for could be at risk”.
“Over the next few years, our trading relationship with the world is likely to change fundamentally,” it says. “As the government pursues the UK’s withdrawal from the European Customs Union, new trade deals will need to be negotiated and rules re-written.
“As the UK’s place in the world changes, it’s vital that we safeguard and build on rules that give a fair deal to developing countries.”
The petition calls on International trade Secretary Liam Fox to:
- Put in place trade rules that allow the poorest countries to import their produce into the UK tariff-free, without forcing them to do the same for ours.
- Make it easier for farmers in developing countries to process and package their produce themselves, increasing the value of their exports.
- Guarantee that new trade deals will incorporate existing commitments and standards on the environment, human rights, and Sustainable Development Goals.
- Increase democracy and transparency by giving Parliament the ability to scrutinise the final terms of new trade deals as they are negotiated.