According to a leaked government document obtained by Sky News, the UK should prioritize economic growth over environmental protection in trade agreements.
Environmental safeguards should not be treated as a red line if other countries demand a breach of a trade agreement, according to a document prepared by Department for International Trade (DIT) officials.
This treatise, which has not been viewed or approved by the Cabinet, was prepared for the Cross-Whitehall Working Group and has recently been circulated to approximately 120 Whitehall staff.
Although this text reflects the approach already adopted by some trade agreements, the timing in black and white, which is very close to the COP26 Climate Change Summit, can be embarrassing for civil servants.
Boris Johnson previously boasted that the UK’s environmental standards were higher than other countries, but these are conditions that allow countries such as Australia and Brazil access to sell goods to the UK market. Can be weakened or “liberalized”.
The leaked document states: “The HMG (Government) should refuse to liberalize environmental products if there is an economic case of liberalization, or if the interest of partners is so strong that otherwise broader agreements are undermined. is not.
“In these cases, use the FTA levers outlined in this note and the non-FTA levers outlined elsewhere to liberate and address the risk of carbon leaks (generally a small additional risk from FTAs). You have to keep going. “
Campaign participants said this is a very high level where products entering the UK market are deforested in the rainforest, banned here but allowed in other countries such as palm oil from the rainforest reserves in Indonesia. It states that it may mean that it may be related to the emissions or chemicals of the.
The lead document continues as follows: “HMG should not pursue a conditional liberalization approach, which is a very negotiable issue (there are few precedents and proven difficulties to raise with partners on related issues) and WTO compliance issues. / By creating dual standards with trading partners. “”
The Department for International Trade is in talks with the Brazilian government to suggest that ending deforestation should be a condition of the trade agreement, despite the destruction of the Amazon.
The trade sector downplayed the importance of documents leaked to Sky News.
A spokesman for the Department for International Trade said, “This is not a government policy and has not been considered by the minister.”
However, spokesmen did not say that trade agreements would prevent “products of environmental problems” from entering the country. We also do not comment on suggestions that the document reflects practices already adopted by DIT.
Emily Thornberry, Labor’s shadow trade secretary, told Sky News: A trade deal from Brazil, he wants to sell us things from the rainforest. We probably shouldn’t get in the way so much, otherwise it won’t end up in a trade deal. “-Really? “
David Henig, director of the UK Trade Policy Project and former DIT employee, said the document approach leaked to Sky News was wrong, but not surprising as it reflects existing practices. I did.
“The important thing is that the UK government says,” Economic growth comes first, and climate change is a little behind. ” He also said, “I am not convinced that we can conclude this trade agreement without abandoning the purpose of climate change. If necessary, if it is necessary to conclude a trade agreement, we will do them. Will abandon, “he said.
“I think it’s a mistake and I’m a little surprised.
“We should say more confidently because we need to get economic growth from trade and we can tackle climate change. I think that’s a surprise.
“I don’t think it’s surprising that the UK government prioritizes trade agreements and the economy over climate change. They feel they can’t put together a trade agreement, so they feel they need to. I think it’s a surprise, economics and climate change.
“I think there are many experts who say that not only can it actually be done, but it must be done as part of the fight against climate change.”
Bernice Lee, a trade analyst at Chatham House, said:
“Why exclude approaches that link market access to climate change development and forest protection, as it is one of the most important tools the UK can use to influence the great powers since the COP26 Summit?”
Sam Rowe, a trade expert at the European Reform Center, said: It is considered too tricky by DIT.
“It also makes it clear that the UK is ready to liberalize trade in environmentally suspicious commodities if necessary to obtain an FTA on the line.
“I don’t know if this is surprising, but it provides the FTA agenda with insights into where the environment is as a government priority.”
Kierra Box, a trade expert at Friends of the Earth, said the impact of this approach could be enormous.
“It may be like a product produced in a way that has a very high carbon impact. It should be produced in a much more environmentally friendly way, available this country or elsewhere. You can, “she said.
“Or maybe it’s something like palm oil, soybeans, or meat from a deforested area, so we’re talking about products that cause rainforest decline, marine pollution, and a major impact on it. Climate change-these are things we should exclude from trade agreements and not control. “
UK Trade Agreements Should Prioritize Economic Growth Over Environmental Protection-Leaked Government Documents | UK News
Source link UK Trade Agreements Should Prioritize Economic Growth Over Environmental Protection-Leaked Government Documents | UK News