“The Trade Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons today. It falls woefully short of what is needed. 

The Bill aims to create a framework for an independent trade policy and new trade agreements into UK law. The Bill is an historic opportunity to set out a bold, strategic vision for the UK’s future trade agreements. An opportunity to ensure climate justice is central to UK trade policy, building on our international commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the UK in 2015.

Unsurprisingly those hopeful, like me, for UK legislation to adequately reflect the most important global challenge we face are left with resounding disappointment. As it stands the Trade Bill references neither the climate nor our environment. New trade agreements must be used to improve environmental standards overseas. How can we possibly build back better in a post-COVID19 world, ensuring a more equal, fairer society across the globe without ethical and environmentally sustainable values at the core of long-lasting critical legislation such as this?

Shadow International Trade Secretary, Emily Thornberry rightly described the Bill as “unfit to rise to its historic challenge.”

We cannot lose sight of the threat posed to the health of people and planet by runaway climate change. UK Government’s failure to recognise and reflect this in the Trade Bill indicates that the major shift away from business as usual that is urgently needed is not high up on their list of priorities.

The poorest across the globe bear both the least responsibility and the heaviest burden of climate breakdown. Our trade policy must have development objectives at its heart and be rebalanced by putting justice and fairness at the core of future trade agreements. We are in a climate emergency, we simply cannot afford to weaken environmental standards in the pursuit of reckless trade agreements and Labour will continue to hold the UK Government to account when it falls woefully short on its global responsibilities.”

Anna McMorrin MP
Shadow Minister for International Development
Member of Parliament for Cardiff North

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