A lot has happened since Trade Deal Watch was founded in August 2016. For a start, Brexit. And on top of that, all of the campaigning and activities that formed around opposition to “the Brexit deal” (not least from our current, pro-Brexit PM.) Now that it’s 2020, Brexit is both something that ‘got done‘ in January and that we need to ‘get ready for‘ at the end of the year. Talk of trade deals and even trade wars is everywhere and that’s why we’ve chosen to relaunch.

Political betting sites still think that a UK-EU trade deal by the end of transition on 31st December is favourite but the odds aren’t great (4/7 for a deal, 11/10 against) and are probably skewed by the strong likelihood of a ‘basic agreement’ being made even if the countries have just about ‘given up hope‘ of getting a comprehensive deal before year end.

Not many people voted for ‘no deal Brexit’ or the very similar ‘basic agreement’ that seems to be our most likely outcome and so Trade Deal Watch has a job to do, warning people of the threat to our national security, health and care services, farming, food security, and on and on.

But beyond the European Union, ‘Global Britain‘ is beginning to look more risky and frightening than the ‘sunlit uplands‘ that were promised.

With the new ban on Huawei and accusations that Russia has been hacking our Covid19 vaccine research, the UK appears to be joining Trump’s America in what some think could be a new Cold War of sorts. There is certainly a US-China trade war that is spilling over into diplomatic areas and a growing trend for asset freezes and other sanctions against political officials that started with Russia and has recently extended to China.

Britain has its own unique fight with China, with trouble brewing over Hong Kong and the breakdown of promises and treaties made at the handover in 1997; and with Russia, let’s not forget the Salisbury Poisonings.

On the other hand, the close alignment with Trump’s America that might ensue from a ‘common enemy’ is also troubled. The UK has ‘abandoned hope‘ of getting a trade deal sorted with the US before the end of Brexit transition in December. Furthermore, there is strong opposition on what might be included in such a deal ranging from the lower safety of US cars, lower US food standards, the end of British farming, and of course, threats to our NHS.

Trade Deal Watch will be working hard to ensure that each and all of these issues are kept in the public eye and that our government and politicians are held to account for any desperate, fast or dubiously motivated deals that may occur – for ‘dubiously motivated’ see Secretary of State Jenrick.

From illegal arms deals with human rights abusers to any deals that might be made with the growing wave of ‘illiberal democrats‘ threatening to become human rights abusers in Hungary, Poland, and all across the world, now is the time for citizens to become aware, empowered and active about trade deals.

With our relaunch, we aim to help.

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