Take action

Take Action against Undemocratic Trade Deals

The UK government is currently negotiating trade deals with countries around the world in secret, and without any proper democratic mandate. The Trade Justice Scotland Coalition is campaigning to bring these deals into the open with the Scottish parliament and Scottish citizens given a voice in what these deals contain and the power to stop any deal that would be bad for people and planet.

You can get involved by:

 


 

Take Action against Corporate Courts

Imagine a world where transnational corporations don’t have to follow the same laws as everyone else, but instead have their own corporate courts, where the law is tailored to their interests. Not courts where the companies are put on trial, but where corporations sue governments for huge sums of money and bully countries to get their own way.

It sounds like dystopian science fiction, but corporate courts are real. Formally known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), these special privileges are granted to transnational companies by rules in trade and investment deals.

ISDS has enabled corporations to sue countries for doing almost anything they don’t like – environmental protection, regulating finance, renationalising public services, anti-smoking policies, you name it.

Across the world, taxpayers are forced to cough up millions which could be used for healthcare or education, to ‘compensate’ corporations for democratic decisions that protect people and planet. Often the threat of a case alone can also pressure governments to back down on important policies.

ISDS petition hand in

Photo: ISDS petition hand in

In the UK, as the government reassesses trade and investment policy in a post-Brexit context we want assurances that ISDS will have no place in future trade deals. In January, some of our member organisations handed in a petition with 70,000 signatures to the Department for International Trade calling on the UK government to commit to keeping controversial ‘corporate courts’ out of post-Brexit trade deals.

Read this detailed briefing about corporate courts

Read more on the ISDS petition here


Scotland must have a voice in trade deals after Brexit

The UK government will begin to make its own trade deals after Brexit. This could be a disaster:  a US trade deal could open the market for the sale of chlorinated chicken and GM food from US farms here in Scotland, for example. ..But it could also be an opportunity to set out a better, more democratic framework for trade policy and trade deals to be developed in the UK after Brexit.

Unfortunately, the trade bill put before the UK parliament in November 2017 did not embrace that opportunity. The bill tied the hands of both the House of Commons and our Scottish parliament giving them virtually no powers to scrutinise or debate future trade deals.

Recently we won an important victory as the House of Lords passed an amendment to the Trade Bill that includes some proposals for a meaningful vote over future trade deals by the UK parliament and some obligations to consult with Scotland. This was a big step but the fight is not over. We now need to ensure this amendment stays in the Bill when it returns to the House of Commons.

Take action: ask your MP to support the amendment for trade democracy

The Trade Bill is also being discussed in the Scottish parliament. The Finance and Constitution Committee held an inquiry and Liz Murray gave evidence on behalf of Trade Justice Scotland Coalition to the committee. Both the Scottish government and the Committee have recommended that the Scottish parliament withhold consent to the bill. As yet, there has not been a debate and vote by the Chamber on the trade bill – we’ll keep you posted on this!


No post-Brexit trade deals with Trump!

As it stands, on 1 November the UK government will be free to negotiate a trade deal with Donald Trump.
A US-UK trade deal could see chlorinated chicken on our supermarket shelves, US corporations in our NHS and a whole raft of our laws and regulations challenged in international corporate courts.
We can’t let that happen. Sign the petition to oppose a toxic US-UK trade deal now.


Just Trade Principles

Please ask your MP to sign up to these ethical trade principles.

Read the Just Trade Principles

Read the Just Principles for Trade policy briefing (useful for writing to your MP)

Stop trump placard

Stop Trump placard

Please ask your local councillors to support our trade principles

As we know from campaigning on new EU trade deals, local councils will feel the impact of future trade deals if public services and public procurement are to be included. During the campaign against TTIP, one third of Scottish local councils voted to make their local area a TTIP-free zone.

That is why we are now asking Scottish local Councils to sign up to our ethical trade principles.

We have put together a draft motion that Councillors could use. Please contact your local councillors and ask for their support.

Download our draft Just Trade Principles motion here

Inverclyde Council are the first in Scotland to pass a motion in support of our Just Trade Principles. Read the motion here