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CAMPAIGN group Global Justice Now has criticised MPs for voting down an amendment to the government’s Trade Bill that would have enhanced scrutiny of controversial trade deals.
The “trade democracy” amendment, known as NC3, would have placed limits on ministers’ ability to negotiate corporate treaties without consulting the public — including a statutory duty to place a sustainability impact assessment before Parliament and to consult with business, trade unions and NGOs as well as devolved authorities before going ahead.
It was proposed by Green MP Caroline Lucas.
Global Justice Now’s Nick Dearden said the group had “put democratic control of trade deals on the political agenda.
“This is important, but the amendment today would have given MPs the ability to scrutinise, change and if necessary stop bad trade deals.
“Unfortunately on the big question, the government has refused to give real power over trade deals to Parliament.”
Public opinion has hardened against secretive stitch-ups such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiated by the EU with the United States, the ratification of which has been derailed by the Donald Trump administration, and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta) with Canada. Both allow businesses to sue the government if its policies interfere with their profits.
Communist Party general secretary Robert Griffiths welcomed opposition to corporate trade deals but warned that it must be “consistent.”
“The EU is a global champion of free trade deals that benefit multinational corporations at the expense of working people and democratic control,” he pointed out.
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