Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 50 Number 39, October 31, 2020 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Move to entrench the power of the monopolies to impose trade agreements

Successful National Day of Action against the Government's Proposed Trade Deal with the United States


On Saturday October 24, there was a successful national day of action around the UK to protest against the government's proposed trade deal with the United States. The protest, which was organised by Global Justice Now, War on Want, Keep Our NHS Public and other organisations, is part of the whole campaign against similar trade deals which will be further enabled by the Trade Bill that the government is now trying to railroad through Parliament. Hundreds took part in the physically-distanced protests in London's Parliament Square, as well as other events organised in Ayrshire, Bexhill and Hastings, Bournemouth, Bradford, Cambridge, Cleveland, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Macclesfield, Manchester, Merseyside, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oswestry, Oxford, Portsmouth, Reading, Sunderland, York and other cities and towns.


The fifth round of the government's negotiations over the US/UK trade deal took place last week. The negotiations are conducted in secret and are only subject to government updates that provide minimal information. The fourth round of the government's negotiations conducted between the 8-18 September outlined the areas of discussion of the work streams [1] which include, Economics, Market Access, State Owned Enterprises, Cross Border Trade in Services, Industrial Subsidies, Trade Remedies, Sanitary and Phytosanitary (Food Standards) and Financial Services. These updates indeed reveal that under these secret discussions vital questions of the whole economy and society are being put in the hands of those that represent the interests of the global monopolies. Nick Dearden, Director of Global Justice commenting on some of these concerns, said: "Boris Johnson and the Trump administration are rushing to negotiate a trade deal, and unless we kick up a fuss, it will be a disaster for our r ights, services, standards and the environment. They have already made it clear that everything is on the table, including opening up the NHS permanently to American healthcare companies. A trade deal with the US will almost certainly mean that we get chlorinated chicken and much lower food standards, and could well mean that we lose vital rights at work and environmental protections. There is no public support for these changes, but the government is hoping to do it anyway while no one is looking."

This week the opposition to government's trade deal with the US has been focusing on opposition to the passage of the Trade Bill through Parliament. The Trade Bill 2020-21 is in the House of Lords where the Report stage, following the Committee stage, is yet to be announced but is expected in the next two weeks. Already in the Committee stage of the Bill, as it was in the Commons, the Bill has been subject to amendments [2] moved because of the sustained opposition of the people to the passage of the Bill. For example, Amendment 51 aims "to protect the NHS and publicly funded health and care services in other parts of the UK from any form of control from out side the UK" and Amendment 57 aims to give "Parliamentary approval of trade agreement."


Whether these amendments will get debated and passed in the report stage in the House of Lords is still not clear and of course the government will do everything to overturn any amendments in its final stage when the Bill returns to the commons. But the aim that the people have in opposition to the Trade Bill is now much clearer. What is being revealed in this fight against the Trade Bill is that the government, through its executive power, aims to further hand over control to these international corporations at the expense of the rights and interests of the peoples and nations of Britain as well the peoples and nations worldwide. Whatever happens with the outcome of the Trade Bill, this struggle is bringing to the fore the necessity for the people to have the power to make the decisions [3]. Through their actions, the working class and people are speaking out in the fight to limit the power of the monopolies to impose trade agreements on society that are against the rights and int erests of all at home and abroad.

[1] Negotiations on the UK's Future Trading Relationship with the US: Update

[2] Global Justice - Note to editors
The amendments tabled on this issue are:

Amendments on other issues include:

[3] The Resistance to the Trade Bill Continues - Workers' Weekly
The Necessity to Speak Out in the Fight to Limit the Power of the Monopolies to Impose Trade Agreements on Society - Workers' Weekly
The Necessity to Limit the Power of the Monopolies to Impose Trade Agreements on Society - Workers' Weekly
The Necessity for Trade on an Equal Basis and for Mutual Benefit, Where the People Decide - Workers' Weekly


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