Reports Securing democracy in UK trade policy - Developing a transparent and democratic approach to trade agreements

Reports
READING TIME 15 mins

Securing democracy in UK trade policy - Developing a transparent and democratic approach to trade agreements

A Trade Bill has been introduced but provisions to make trade policy accountable to Parliament are currently lacking and need to be incorporated.

As the law currently stands, the Government has unchecked powers to negotiate and ratify trade agreements in secret without public or Parliamentary oversight. This huge democratic deficit must be corrected.

Modern trade agreements affect many aspects of public policy, including jobs, the environment, health, development and inequality.

At present MPs would have less say on an EU-UK trade deal than MEPs in the European Parliament, and less say on a potential US-UK deal than the US Congress.

Provisions must be included in the Trade Bill to ensure that the public is consulted and Parliament’s consent is secured when developing new trade policy, that the highest level of transparency is maintained throughout trade negotiations, and that trade agreements are subject to a debate and a vote in Parliament with a role for the devolved administrations, prior to ratification.

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Published November 2017 TJM

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