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Trade deals with US could drag Britain into war on Iran, global justice charity warns

War on Want said John Bolton ‘is dangling the hope of a fast-track trade deal in return for support for his hawkish plan’

PLANNED trade deals with the United States could see Britain dragged into a Pentagon-led war on Iran, War on Want warned today.

Trade deals would be made dependent on British compliance with US global military and political ambitions, in addition to the watering-down of workers’ rights, food standards, and environmental protections, the global justice charity said.

Other conditions of any deals would be the imposition of corporate courts enabling transnational companies to sue Britain if a future government changed policy on trade deals — a nightmare that is already a reality for some countries.

The warning came after US National Security Adviser John Bolton — seen as the most right-wing and hawkish member of President Donald Trump’s administration — announced the possibility of piecemeal US-Britain trade deals covering individual industries and services including health and motor manufacturing following a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Mr Bolton later met Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid for talks.

Asad Rehman, director of War on Want, told the Morning Star: “John Bolton is national security negotiator and knows very little about trade.

“He has left a trail of war and destruction in the Middle East.

“He wants to sign up the UK for military confrontation with Iran. It is also about China.

“He is dangling the hope of a fast-track trade deal in return for support for his hawkish plans.”

Mr Rehman said the only people to benefit from a trade deal with the US would be transnational corporations and that the deal would “rip up food standards, workers’ rights and the National Health Service.”

He said deals with other countries had included the imposition of corporate courts to rule on disputes between elected governments and transnational corporations.

“It is already happening,” he said. “In Armenia there is an overwhelming campaign against a planned gold mine in a protected area. It is a British company.

“The company is suing the Armenian government for an amount which is bigger than the Armenian economy.”

He warned that the US trade deal would be negotiated in secret by government ministers and that MPs would have no say.

Campaigner Jonathan Stevenson from Global Justice Now was also alarmed, telling the Star: “John Bolton is a war criminal who shouldn’t have been let into the country, let alone invited to outline the foreign policy price of a US-UK trade deal.

“It’s abundantly clear that Trump plans to extract maximum value out of Boris Johnson’s desperation to do any post-Brexit trade deal.

“It’s outrageous but not surprising that Boris Johnson and his extremist cabinet are prepared to give away control in such a brazen manner.”

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