Why Trade Justice?

Trade has always been part of society and in itself can be a good thing. But trade deals are no longer just about selling more goods to other countries. Instead, they are often about giving huge new powers to big business, affecting every aspect of society from our public services to online privacy, from environmental protection to food standards.

We are campaigning to ensure trade deals work for people and planet. We are doing this by fighting for the parliament at Westminster and the Scottish parliament to have the powers to scrutinise and approve future trade deals and by challenging future UK trade deals and making sure they put people and planet before corporate profit.


An ethical trade policy

Rather than being for the benefit of big business, trade could be used as a force for good around the world. We envision trade which prioritises people and planet above profit. As a coalition we have developed a set of principles for an ethical trade policy to outline what we think ethical trade policy should look like.

For more information read the Just Principles for Trade policy briefing.


Trade deals after Brexit

Now we have left the EU, the UK government can negotiate trade deals on its own. Government ministers have been flying around the world to lay the groundwork for future trade deals with countries like Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Philippines and the US.

These talks are being held in secret and, as things stand the Scottish parliament will have no opportunity to scrutinise the deals being negotiated even though they might impact policies devolved to Scotland, such as food safety, animal welfare and the environment. We need to ensure that the public, and our elected representatives have a chance to scrutinise and approve future trade deals. 

The Trade Justice Scotland Coalition lobbied the UK government to demand legislation that enables a democratic and transparent framework for future trade deal negotiations. When the trade bill was being debated at Westminster we argued for clauses that would increase democratic scrutiny – even just the basics such as allowing MPs to debate and vote on new deals. So far we have been unsuccessful – but the fight continues!


US trade deal put on hold!

We are proud of the work we did last year to alert people in Scotland to the dangers of a quick deal with the US, especially the fantastic day of action in October (see pictures of local actions during lockdown above). And for now it seems the US trade deal has been put on hold.

Joe Biden has come into office in the US promising to concentrate on domestic issues first, and the new US trade representative Katherine Tai has said she wants a proper review of the deals objectives before going further. So it looks like the UK government will have to wait a while for negotiations to restart. But we will be keeping an eye out for any new developments.

Find out more/take action

Watch the podcast on trade and coronavirus from Global Justice Now

Sign the petition against a US trade deal under President Biden

Find out more about data privacy and future trade deals 

Read about how trade deals might impact on everyday concerns in Scotland here