Green party no to neo-liberal trade agreements motion passed at York City Council

Council finally passed the motion below last night including amended references to CETA and other trade agreements.

“Council notes that:

  • The European Union (EU) and the USA launched negotiations in July 2013 on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP);
  • Negotiations continue, seeking to protect international investors, harmonise standards, reduce tariffs and open new markets throughout the EU and USA;
  • Services within TTIP includes not just private but also public services;
  • There has been no assessment of the potential impact on local authorities and their services;
  • There has been no scrutiny or consultation with City of York Council or other local government representatives such as the Local Government Association (LGA) and our local MPs for York Central or York Outer are also unable to scrutinise the negotiating documents;
  • Our twin municipality of Munster in Germany passed a resolution in 2014 to reject TTIP;
  • Our twin municipality of Dijon in France passed a resolution in 2014 to ask for the full involvement of local authorities in free trade negotiations and public disclosure of all texts on the TTIP negotiations.
  • Since the Brexit vote, whilst the future of the TTIP negotiations between the EU and the USA is increasingly unclear, it is possible that if the EU concludes a TTIP deal with the US in the longer term, the UK could be subject to TTIP principles via whatever trade deal the UK concludes with the EU. More immediately, a very similar trade agreement between the EU and Canada (CETA) looks set to be agreed as quickly as possible. It could be enacted into UK law irrespective of any Brexit timetable. At the same time, moves to negotiate a bilateral US-UK trade agreement post-Brexit have been referred to as ‘TTIP on steroids’.

Council believes that:

  • CETA and similar trade agreements based on the TTIP model could have a significant impact on local services, employment, suppliers and decision-making;
  • A thorough impact assessment of CETA and similar trade agreements based on the TTIP model on local authorities must be carried out before the negotiations can be concluded;
  • The Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism has been used by corporations to overturn democratic decisions by all levels of governments at significant public cost.  Local decision-making must be protected from ISDS;
  • The UK’s food, environmental and labour standards are better than those in the US and trade negotiations must raise and not lower these standards;
  • Sourcing supplies and employment locally is important to strengthening local economies and meeting local needs. CETA and similar trade agreements based on the TTIP model must not impact on local authorities’ ability to act in the best interests of their communities.

Council resolves:

Writing to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Secretary of State for International Trade, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the MPs for York Central and York Outer and all Yorkshire and the Humber MEPs, as well as the Local Government Association, raising the serious concerns of the City of York Council about the potential impact of CETA and similar trade agreements based on the TTIP model  on our local authority and the secrecy of the negotiating process”


This is all part of the anti neo-liberal free trade agreements in which the Green Party has played a leading role.  For instance, one of our MEP’s, Molly Scott-Cato recently wrote in the Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/19/people-power-ending-ttip-eu-free-trade-deals-ceta

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