There are worrying omissions in the new ‘trailblazing’ trade deals with Canada and Mexico

There is little guidance on how the government’s new deals will translate into jobs and prosperity, let alone how they align with commitments on climate and the environment, writes Ruth Bergan

Monday 24 May 2021 12:22 BST
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<p>Boris Johnson shakes hands with Justin Trudeau. The UK government intends to upgrade its trade deal with Canada</p>

Boris Johnson shakes hands with Justin Trudeau. The UK government intends to upgrade its trade deal with Canada

The UK is about to begin negotiations to upgrade its trade deals with Canada and Mexico and international trade secretary Liz Truss said: “This next generation of deals will be trailblazing, securing more access for British goods and services, which will support jobs and prosperity across the UK in industries that will shape the future of the global economy.” But is the government’s “trailblazing” approach really fit for the future global economy?

Post-pandemic, it will be vital to rebuild the UK economy and create good jobs. Deals with countries like Canada and Mexico could be part of that process. However, Truss’s statement says little about what role these deals will play and, in particular, how they will help to ensure that we get a recovery that helps us tackle climate change and environmental degradation. Given the UK’s commitments on net-zero, and in the year that the UK hosts both the G7 and Cop26, this is a worrying omission.

In 2020 the UK, Canada and Mexico committed to negotiating new deals that go much further than existing rollovers. It is apparent that the UK wants to deepen existing deals and sign new ones. However, there is nothing that sets out how they believe this will translate into jobs and prosperity, let alone how it aligns with commitments on climate and the environment.

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