Far from giving us back control, the Government is planning to sell out our interests to international capital. The Trade Bill going through Parliament will give them the power to negotiate any deals they like without democratic scrutiny. Despite their massive majority in the House of Commons, there is still a chance to stop them... Continue Reading →
Sustainability and development need to be integral to the core of trade rules, not ghettoised and given a lesser status. The new Trade Advisory Groups build corporate lobbying in to the structure of trade negotiations.
The fact that the Democrat controlled US Congress was able to have these employment protection provisions included in the NAFTA-2 deal shows that international trade deals can include human rights provisions. And if human rights, why not environmental protections? We must demand such provisions for all the trade deals currently being negotiated.
It is gradually dawning on the media that computer algorithms are taking greater and greater control of our lives. The Guardian reported recently that the UK immigration service has decided to improve its software in order to eliminate an algorithm that implemented racist practices employed by the service. This is, of course, to be applauded.... Continue Reading →
The UK is going to be signing a lot of new treaties in the near future. Negotiations will be done in secret and the Government will do its best to smuggle in the new laws without parliamentary or public scrutiny. They will be able to do this because Parliament currently has no right to vote on trade treaties.
AFTINET reports 'No ISDS in proposed UK – Japan Free Trade Agreement' What are corporate courts?
The COVID-19 outbreak in Leicester is just another consequence of worker abuse in the fashion and textiles industry
Six actions governments should take to ensure that the economic recovery addresses the climate crisis
The British Government admits it is happy to import chlorinated chicken and other low standard factory farmed foods from the US.
10 scenarios in which powerful corporations will sue national governments in the wake of COVID-19. Resistance and reform to corporate courts.
We are probably as much as 18 months away from an effective vaccine for COVID-19, but the struggle has already begun to ensure that when it is developed it will be available to all. Please sign the petition to ensure that patents and big pharma profits don’t get in the way of delivering treatment to... Continue Reading →
More than four fifths (81%) expressed concerns about lower food standards in a Savanta Com Res poll commissioned by UNISON last month. Over half (52%) want tighter regulations after Brexit, while a third (34%) say the UK current rules should be maintained. Just 3% favour the Government policy of lowering standards to allow dodgy US... Continue Reading →
Are you supporting a system in which children are forced to work eight hours a day instead of attending school? If you drink tea or coffee, or eat chocolate, you may be inadvertently doing just that. A new investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches visited 12 farms in Guatamala which supply the two companies - and... Continue Reading →
The British Government has announced it wants a "Canada-style" trade deal with the EU. Effectively, that means some version of CETA, even though Canada has said it wants to renegotiate the deal with Britain after Brexit. CETA (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) between Canada and the EU and already partly in force in the... Continue Reading →
The EU has already suggested including a reference to the Paris agreement in the FTA with Australia and in November last year France's Foreign Minister stated that the FTA should include "highly ambitious" action on climate change. More on greening world trade Image: "Bush fires take hold..." by luke is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
A popular slogan among supporters and defenders of our National Health Service is 'The NHS is not for sale'. This is seen as a likely outcome of post-Brexit trade negotiations with the US. But Trump's trade agenda poses threats that are at once more subtle and more deadly than the slogan implies. Say no to... Continue Reading →
A major focus of UK-US post-Brexit trade negotiations will be the NHS patient database. It is probably the biggest, and most complete, collection of personal medical records in the world - an extremely valuable resource which can be used to improve healthcare provision. It can also be a source of massive profit for private companies... Continue Reading →
The website Complete Music Update highlights a move by music streaming company Tidal to sue the Norwegian Government under the provisions of a bilateral treaty it has with Poland. The site reports: This all relates to those claims that the Jay-Z owned streaming firm skewed the listening stats for two albums on which it had... Continue Reading →
As climate strikers mobilise across the globe and world leaders gather in New York for another climate summit, fossil fuel companies are gearing up to prevent the switch to renewable energy. One of the chief weapons in their armoury is the ISDS system of corporate courts. Already, countries that have tried to end their addiction... Continue Reading →
It is now six years since 1136 working people died and another 2500 were injured in the collapse of the Rana Plaza Building in Dhaka Savar. While it was not the first such disaster to strike the garment industry, its sheer scale sent shock waves across the world. Furious consumers demanded that high street brands... Continue Reading →
In 2017/18 the NHS paid big pharma £1.1 billion for the five most expensive cancer medicines. Three of these drugs were developed with public funding. High drug prices are crippling NHS budgets and leaving people across the world unable to afford life-saving medicines. Globally, millions of people die every year because they cannot afford the... Continue Reading →
Westmorland Coal are in a fix. In 2013, the Denver-based company bought five coal mines in Alberta. Two years later the provincial government announced that it would phase out coal-fired power by 2030, as part of a comprehensive plan to tackle climate change. Since Alberta does not have the infrastructure to export coal, that means... Continue Reading →
Roşia Montană has been around for almost 2000 years, on the 6th February it celebrated its 1888th year of existence. Yet trans-national corporation Gabriel Resources want to wipe it out by digging the largest open-cast gold mine in Europe and forcing the population to relocate. The company is planning to use the deadly poison cyanide... Continue Reading →
A group of US investors, trading as Bayview Group and Natural Resources Development, are suing Rwanda for $95 million at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Rwanda has been reforming its mining sector to attract more investment and this corporate court action will be a major setback. The Rwandan Government has pointed... Continue Reading →
According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, there are over 400 voluntary sustainability schemes (VSS), such as Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance, operating across the world. These markets are showing exponential growth, as consumers vote with their pockets, to demand better treatment for producers and higher environmental standards. But a recent article in Ghana Business... Continue Reading →
Assam is one of the poorest states in India, with 1 in 3 living below the Indian poverty line. Dramatic reductions in poverty between 1994 and 2005 have now slowed almost to a standstill and Assam is lagging behind other Indian states. Tea estate workers are in a particularly bad position, being subject to the... Continue Reading →
Manchester Open Rights Group used to be very active in the city. Then, in spring last year, things went quiet. But now they're back and they've got the threat of e-commerce firmly in their sights. A meeting in April discussed the threat to free speech posed by the Government's collaboration with social media companies to... Continue Reading →
Global Justice Now (GJN) have published a new briefing (pdf) on the dangers arising from the growth of e-commerce, these include: The 'toll booth' internet Up until now the internet and the World Wide Web have been, like the highways, a public utility. However, there are increasing attempts to privatise it. The report misses the... Continue Reading →
A major aim of so-called 'free' trade treaties is to enforce pharmaceutical patents and thus end access to cheap generic medicines. For many in low and medium income countries, this means ending access to medicines altogether. Even for those of us lucky enough to live in a wealthy country like the UK, it can sometimes... Continue Reading →
The enclosure acts, which robbed the English people of their access to common land, but there is less awareness of the new global enclosure movement that seeks to privatise knowledge once considered the common property of ordinary people. Trade treaties are one way in which this is accomplished; treaties which seek to prevent you sharing... Continue Reading →
Brexit has revealed an almost total lack of democratic control over UK trade policy. Theresa May is intent on negotiating new trade deals behind closed doors, with minimal opportunity for Parliament to examine or challenge them. One of the most important of these deals will be the one that is struck with the USA and... Continue Reading →
Corporate courts are a tribunals run by corporate lawyers for the benefit of giant trans-national corporations (TNCs) and rich investors. They allow foreign companies to sue national governments and overrule domestic laws and regulations that reduce their profitability. They are used by the powerful TNCs to prevent regulations protecting consumers, workers, livestock or the environment.... Continue Reading →
The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) Convener Dr Patricia Ranald complains that Europeans know more about Australian trade negotiations than Australians do. AFTINET found out that the EU is pushing for longer monopolies on medicines in negotiations with Australia because the EU has said so. The Australian Government has said nothing publicly. The... Continue Reading →