New briefing: The impact of new trade deals on Scotland’s laws & policies

The Trade Justice Scotland Coalition has written a new briefing for members of the Scottish parliament. It is a summary of our concerns about new trade deals currently being negotiated by the UK government. It raises concerns about the impact these deals might have on the ability of the Scottish parliament to pass strong laws tackling social and environmental injustice, and protecting our public services.

Download the MSP briefing here

Projection of words 'corporate courts block climate action' on to the offices of law firm Clyde & Co in Edinburgh

In the run-up to the UN climate summit in Glasgow, the briefing specifically mentions the worrying impact that trade deals can have on the power of governments to help the country transition to a zero carbon society by using effective laws and policies.

Unlike environmental agreements, such as the UN climate treaty, trade agreements have strong, enforceable rules with penalties if they are broken. Whereas climate treaties have targets, goals and aspirations but no enforcement mechanisms. Trade deals often actively encourage trade in fossil fuels at a time when we should be making a just transition away from fossil fuel use. And through the ‘corporate court’ clauses within trade deals, they allow fossil fuel companies to sue governments for taking climate-friendly decisions that reduce that company’s future profits.

In the briefing we call on MSPs to speak out about the undemocratic nature of these trade deals, and to support a more ethical trade policy. Our specific asks are that they:

  • Support the need for ethical trade deals by endorsing the Trade Justice Scotland Coalition’s Principles for Just Trade Deals
  • As new trade deals are negotiated that might impact on devolved laws and policies, speak out about the need for a better process for scrutinising and passing trade deals that involves Scottish parliamentarians. And call for a Scottish parliament inquiry into the impact specific trade deals will have in Scotland.
  • Oppose any trade deal that ratchets up or locks in the privatisation of public services – particularly health services, puts downward pressure on Scotland’s food, animal welfare, workers’ and environmental standards, or that rejects or undermines the precautionary principle
  • Oppose any trade deal that includes ISDS

This briefing is intended as a resource for Trade Justice Scotland Coalition members to use when speaking to MSPs about these issues. Please consider using it to speak to your constituency MSPs about these issues.

Download the MSP briefing