What will a US Trade Deal cost Britain?
The honest answer is, we don't know. Theresa May's Conservatives have repeatedly refused to rule out anything from a future Trade deal.
Our NHS for sale? Workers rights under threat? Weakened environmental standards? Lower Animal Welfare standards?
It's why we're writing to Theresa May to ask her to guarantee not to sell Britain out for a trade deal with Donald Trump - and we want your name on the letter too.
You can read the open letter in full below - and if you agree with it, add your name today:
Maintaining standards in future trade deals
We are writing regarding the future trade deals that the UK currently plans to enter into with countries, such as China and the USA, following our departure from the European Union.
We are alarmed that the UK could seek or be pressured to reduce standards and water-down regulations, in particular relating to food standards, animal welfare and the environment.
Given the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis’s, statement today (20th Feb) that Brexit would not be a “race to the bottom”, we are writing to obtain an assurance from you on these standards relating to these three issues.
Firstly, on the subject of food standards, we seek confirmation that the UK will maintain food standards equivalent to EU standards and will not, as has already been requested by the US, settle for lower standards. Can you confirm that the UK will continue to take the precautionary approach to food standards going forward, or whether a US-style approach will be taken whereby harm must be proven before action is taken?
Specifically, we ask that you rule out the possibility that harmful pesticides such as paraquat, chlorine-washed chicken, hormone-fed beef and genetically modified organisms will be allowed into the UK market, post-Brexit.
Secondly, there are concerns within consumer groups and farmers that animal welfare standards will be damaged if UK farmers and producers find their markets threatened by inferior and cheaper food products granted access to UK markets under new trade deals. There is a risk that UK farmers would then have to respond by cutting their high welfare standards.
Will you guarantee that the UK will not allow food products produced to lower standards into the UK market or take any action that will weaken animal welfare standards here?
Thirdly, the Liberal Democrats have long championed the environment, and the EU has played an undeniable role in promoting higher environmental standards, on everything from beaches to fracking to air pollution. We were concerned that comments made by the Foreign Secretary in a speech on 14th February suggested that the UK would diverge from the EU on some environmental issues. Moreover, the recently introduced Trade Bill includes no provision for securing existing or improved environmental standards.
Can you guarantee that current environmental standards provided under EU and UK law will be maintained?
Fourthly, will you make clear to Donald Trump that our NHS is off limits to US Companies when you next meet him?
We look forward to your detailed response on each of these issues.
Vince Cable and Tom Brake
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