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10 days for submissions on UK FTA a total farce

Photo by domhartnett / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Press Release: It’s Our Future

10 days for submissions on UK FTA a total farce

Thursday 3 March 2021

“Today’s announcement that people have only ten days to make submissions on the 1700-page secretly negotiated free trade agreement with the United Kingdom that was signed on Tuesday makes a total farce of Labour’s claim to have turned a page in how it makes these deals”, says Edward Miller, spokesperson for Its Our Future that led the campaigns against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)

In 2018 the new Labour Government announced a new “Trade for All” agenda that was intended to restore people’s faith in a fair, just and inclusive trade policy following the TPPA debacle.

One of its goals was to address complaints of a “democratic deficit”, as secretive negotiations and treaties that tied the hands of future governments. Another was to be more “inclusive” of Māori, women, small businesses, and ordinary communities.

Labour set up a Trade for All Board that recommended reducing secrecy, getting the public more involved in trade policy, and tabling an independent National Impact Assessment in parliament with the FTA, not one written by the same Ministry that negotiated it.

“All of that has now been ignored, and we are back to the dark days of undemocratic deal-making”, Miller said. “This is another fait accompli by the free trade ideologues in Treasury, a Minister of Trade-cum-Agriculture, and big business.”

“After two years of obsessively secret negotiations, we now have 10 days to wade through the text and make a submission. Even for experts, there is no time to analyse what’s in it."

"Empowering ordinary Kiwis to understand the implications of this deal, listen to what other groups are saying, form their own views, and make their own considered submissions... none of that is possible under these circumstances.”

Miller warned that “Labour’s contempt for democracy and for ordinary citizens’ rights to participate in such crucial political decisions will simply fuel the cynicism that fuelled the backlash against the TPPA.”

 source: Scoop