The comments made by Emily Thornberry, the Shadow International Trade Secretary, on 19 July 2021.
A maximum of 19 countries will see a reduction in tariffs as a result of these proposals, but for the poorest countries, there will be no direct financial benefit at all, and nothing to make up for the devastating cuts in overseas aid which Rishi Sunak sought to make permanent last week.
Of far more significance are the proposals buried in this consultation to ‘simplify’ the conditions to which trade preferences are currently tied, prohibiting genocide, mass killings of civilians, modern slavery, child labour, and other serious abuses of human rights and workers’ rights.
In the last year, Liz Truss has blocked the genocide amendment against China, resumed the sale of UK bombs for use in Yemen, and signed trade deals with tyrants from Egypt to Cameroon. So when she says she now wants to simplify the requirements our country makes on human rights when we give trade preferences, we urgently need to know which requirements she wants to get rid of, why, and with what consequences.