As the government gets ready to leave the EU, the UK has to rethink its entire trade policy. Already informal discussions are starting up around UK trade deals with the US and over a dozen other countries.
The government can’t take formal action on new trade arrangements until the UK exits the EU. But it can take action right now on the UK’s existing Bilateral Investment Treaties. This would also set the scene for future trade deals, especially on the vital issue of corporate courts.
The UK has more than 100 Bilateral Investment Treaties. Like TTIP and CETA, these deals include a parallel judicial system that allows companies to sue governments at private international tribunals. Companies are challenging policies on everything from changes to environmental legislation, labour laws, decisions regarding tariffs for water and electricity to measures put in place in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.
The development of the UK’s new trade policy provides a huge opportunity to ensure trade works for people and planet. Getting our approach right for existing treaties will help to shape our future trade arrangements. And we can start now by making a fundamental change to the excessive rights offered to companies in existing Bilateral Investment Treaties.
Please ask your MP to call for a fundamental change to the UK’s Bilateral Investment Treaties.