Trade deals


Free trade deals are decided in secrecy, without regard for the residents of countries. They modify and dismantle laws, regulations, and legal processes which allow large corporations to operate freely and dominate. They are fundamentally about this transfer of power. The outcomes are increased inequality (poverty, crime etc.), loss of land, loss of jobs, pollution... Further info:


Given concerns, we wrote to both local MPs in 2020 to ask for assurances that trade deals would not affect our ability to deal with plastic pollution. It took more than 5 months to get an initial response. We asked:

  1. Will trade deals further plastic pollution in any way?
  2. Will trade deals make it more difficult to introduce effective legislation to reduce plastic pollution?

It was agreed that Robert Buckland would represent both north and south Swindon. He has provided no assurances. Following is the correspondence with him:

After receiving no response to this email, we agreed to discuss these issues by phone. Here are brief notes from that conversation on Friday 5th March 2021:

  • He provided no further assurances in answer to our trade deal questions. He expressed feelings about what might be and said that he has seen no evidence to suggest diminution of standards.
  • He will respond to our email about the importance of supporting zero waste, for health, environment, and local economies.
  • I asked if he would be supporting the Plastic Pollution Bill, as he had previously pledged to support its aims. He said that he doesn't think that the bill will progress.
  • He will let us know about the current state of the proposed Deposit Return Scheme (DRS).
  • There have been recent reports that the government is clamping down on those who question capitalism as fit for purpose as extremists. I asked if groups such as ours and Extinction Rebellion would be labelled as extremists for doing so. Robert said that wouldn't happen and cited the importance of respect for human rights. I asked him where the respect for human rights was in sanctioning over £6 billion of arms sales to Saudi Arabia to bomb Yemen. No response.
  • Part of the Coronavirus Bill limits the right to protest. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would further restrict rights to protest. Concerns are for free expression and the right to protest, which could affect the ability of campaigns such as Plastic Free Swindon to operate. Mr Buckland told me that the government would not be seeking to limit protest, repealing the Coronavirus Bill once it is no longer needed.

No further clarification has been given on the trade deal despite further replies from Robert Buckland. We have no assurances that:

  1. Trade deals won't further plastic pollution in any way.
  2. Trade deals won't make it more difficult to introduce effective legislation to reduce plastic pollution.