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25 Apr 2022

Richard Partington, The Guardian

Britain’s hopes of post-Brexit US trade deal ‘depend on workers’ rights’

'Britain’s hopes of post-Brexit US trade deal ‘depend on workers’ rights’', 25 April 2022

"Britain’s hopes of a favourable post-Brexit trade deal with the US risk being undermined by the government’s lack of engagement on workers’ rights, trade unions have warned.

As a second round of US-UK talks begins this week, union leaders from both countries said Washington would push for a “worker-centred approach to trade” to help unlock a deal. Accusing Boris Johnson’s government of failing to grasp the importance of labour rights, the TUC and the AFL-CIO, the biggest union federations in the UK and the US, said a change of tack was urgently required.

It comes as ministers push to build new ties around the world after leaving the EU, with a US trade deal considered a prize target for the government as it attempts to demonstrate benefits of Brexit.

After opening a dialogue on the future of Atlantic trade last month in Baltimore, talks resume this week in Aberdeen and London between the UK trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan and Katherine Tai, the US trade representative. At the first round of meetings Trevelyan pledged she would “strengthen the protection of labour rights and the environment” and “tackle forced labour globally”. However, the US and UK union leaders said the British government had too often hurtled into deals with unsavoury regimes that had no respect for fundamental human and labour rights..."