Feb 28th, 2017
38 Degrees members response to the UK-US trade relations inquiry
By Nat Whalley
Below are the responses from 178,066 38 Degrees members for the International Trade Committee on UK-US trade relations:
99% agree or strongly agree that trade deals should maintain current safety standards for products for sale in the UK (e.g. food, medicines, electronics). Our safety standards should not be relaxed if the country we are trading with has lower standards.
92% agree or strongly agree that negotiations should take place openly, with all key texts available so the public can see what’s on the table. 8% did not agree.
99% agree or strongly agree that trade deals should protect current environmental standards in the UK (e.g. on bee-killing pesticides and our commitments to fight climate change). Our environmental standards should not be relaxed if the country we are trading with has lower standards. 1% did not agree.
98% agree or strongly agree that the UK should not sign up to any new trade deals which include powers for corporations to sue the government in secret tribunals (known as investor-state dispute settlement clauses or ISDS). 2% did not agree.
98% agree or strongly agree that the NHS should be out of bounds for trade deals and must be ring-fenced from negotiations. Private companies based in other countries must not be given powers to force NHS and other public services privatisation (as was threatened by the TTIP trade deal). 2% did not agree.
90% agree or strongly agree that all trade deals must be subject to democratic approval – either a binding vote in Parliament or a referendum. 10% did not agree.
93% agree or strongly agree that we should only sign up to trade deals that benefit everyone, not just big businesses and that the government must consult with the public as well as businesses of all different sizes before signing up to new trade deals. 7% did not agree.
93% agree or strongly agree that we should rule out signing up to new trade deals that allow the sale of arms and weapons to countries which abuse human rights. 7% did not agree.
Below are the most common hopes and fears about a UK-US trade deal from the 20,774 UK based small business owners who took part in the 38 Degrees survey on trade.
Do you see any opportunities or benefits to your business from a UK-US trade deal?
A trade deal with the US could help stabilise exchange rates:
“A stable exchange rate would be the biggest help.” – Lucy, Data consultancy, Delyn
More tourism between our two countries as well as easier work permits for UK citizens travelling to the US:
“As a hotel owner, we may get more visitors from the USA.” – David, Hotel owner, North East Fife
Parts and goods from the US could be cheaper for UK manufacturers:
“Cheaper components from the US.” – Pete, Electronics repair, Esher and Walton
Increased export opportunities for UK businesses:
“If it is easier to export our products to the US it could open up a whole new market for us.” Emma, Manufactures sound equipment, Bolton
Reduced red tape and customs taxes for those already exporting to the US:
“We currently export to the US, it is a long winded process which could be made simpler e.g. Packing lists and custom tariff codes. High VAT and duties on imports” – Josie, Furniture and lighting retailer, Kilburn
Do you see any threats or risks to your business from a UK-US trade deal?
“Our farming industry would be disadvantaged if imports from USA with lower health and safety standards were allowed. Eg. Dairy products which are produced using hormone treatments that are currently banned in the UK, but allowed in the USA.” – Keith, Agriculture delivery firm, Wealden
“Protect the NHS from being forced to purchase drugs from US pharmaceutical companies when these are a fraction of the cost elsewhere.” – Jay, Carpenter, Somerton and Frome
“We import lots of timber products from the US and those woodland products should be harvested to the same high environmental standards as we have to comply with in this country which are administered and set by The UK Forestry Commission.” – Mike, Timber supplier, Central Devon