Johnson’s US trade deal is a risk to NHS, food standards and a digital tax, say campaigners

By agency reporter
July 17, 2019

Campaigners have warned that Boris Johnson’s enthusiasm to engage in a ‘quick’ US trade deal if he becomes Prime Minister next week, threatens Britain’s public services, food standards and online privacy. The Times has reported that Johnson is ready to travel to the US to start discussing a trade deal “as soon as possible” after becoming Prime Minister, engaging first in a limited, quick deal, but laying the grounds for a much bigger deal in coming months.

Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, said: “Boris Johnson would be going into US trade negotiations with his eyes open but his hands tied behind his back. The US administration has been very clear what they want from a trade deal with Britain and it includes: a lowering of the standards of food we import, higher prices for medicines which would threaten the NHS, more power for Big Technology companies to use and abuse our data. If the US was demanding these things of the EU during the TTIP negotiations, imagine how much more power they will have over a Britain negotiating on its own, with almost no experienced negotiators, and without having been clear as to what our trading relationship with the EU will look like.

“The US position is not weakening over time, quite the reverse. Last week, it tried to bully France into dropping proposals for a special tax on Big Technology corporations like Amazon and Facebook. A trade deal between the US and UK would make it very difficult, if not impossible, to replicate that tax here, something government ministers have said they would want to introduce. What’s more, the US is pushing that countries it does trade deals with will require US permission to trade with certain other countries. Far from ‘taking back control’, that would seem to make Britain a vassal state of the United States.

“The changes which a US trade deal could bring about should not be underestimated. They could fundamentally threaten Britain’s public services, food standards and online privacy among many other areas. Worse, as things currently stand neither the public nor our elected representatives have the power to stop such a trade deal.” 

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a trade deal being negotiated between the European Union and the United States, and is currently on hold.

* Global Justice Now https://www.globaljustice.org.uk/

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