TRADE AND ENVIRONMENTAL CAMPAIGNERS have warned that ministers are “on a mission to drive down standards and hand over power to transnational corporations”, as the UK begins talks to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

As well as putting downwards pressure on UK standards and regulation, the agreement would sign the UK up to a system of corporate courts, known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), allowing big polluters to sue the government for taking climate action.

Global Justice Now led the successful campaigns to exclude ISDS from the UK-Australia trade deal and to knock back the US trade deal. But the group warns that signing up to the corporate courts in CPTPP would be “an act of environmental vandalism in the year we host COP26, binding us to climate inaction for another generation.”

CPTPP would:

  • Entrench the corporate court system that gives multinational corporations special powers to bully and sue governments.
  • Exacerbate global inequality, restricting the ability of developing countries to transform their economies.
  • Undermine food standards – threatening to allow chlorine washed chicken and steroid-fed beef into the UK, lowering the quality of food and jeopardising farmers’ livelihoods.
  • Undermine public services across the world – threatening the NHS and the ability of the developing countries in the deal to build their own public services.
  • Give more power to big tech companies to use and abuse our data, and prevent developing countries from building their digital sectors, which are vital for their development.
  • Threaten a high-risk approach to regulation of banks, hedge funds, and the financial sector.
  • Move Britain closer to a US-style system of deregulation that would make it harder to work closely with the EU.

Nick Dearden, Director of Global Justice Now, said: “Liz Truss is on a mission to drive down standards and hand over power to transnational corporations. CPTPP membership will sign us up to a system of secretive corporate courts, known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), that allows big polluters to sue governments for taking action on the climate.

“Just as we’ve knocked these courts out of the UK-Australia trade deal, we find out the government is trying to sneak them into other trade deals. If the UK joins this block, it will be an act of environmental vandalism in the year we host COP26, binding us to climate inaction for another generation.”

* Source: Global Justice Now

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