With the General Election just a few weeks away, we’ve come up with two questions for candidates standing for election as Members of Parliament. If you get the chance at a hustings meeting, or if canvassers call round to your house, please use them!
Question one: When Britain leaves the EU, exporters in some of the world’s poorest countries could find themselves worse off, with their products facing an extra £1 billion in tariffs.
If elected, what will you do to persuade the government to guarantee access to the UK market for producers from the poorest countries after Brexit?
Since the result of the EU Referendum nearly a year ago, we’ve been looking in detail at how people in developing countries who export to the UK might be affected. Our research has shown that, unless new policies are put in place, their products could face an additional £1 billion in tariffs – making them more expensive, less competitive and less likely to be sold in the UK.
Together with campaigners across the country, we’ve been calling for the government to guarantee that products from developing countries can continue to be exported to the UK without facing new tariff barriers.
It’s really important that our new MPs understand that Brexit will have implications beyond the UK and Europe – and that there are simple measures the new government could put in place to ensure that it is a success for developing country producers.
Question two: We've seen how some irresponsible British companies continue to get away with abusing people abroad, including cases of serious injury and deaths as well as exploitation through unfair trading.
If elected, will you support measures to make big companies legally accountable for abuses committed aboard, and strengthen the supermarkets’ watchdog?
Over the last few years, together we’ve raised the issue of irresponsible British companies which get away with causing deaths, serious injuries and widespread pollution through their operations abroad. Through the Justice campaign, Traidcraft Exchange highlighted the lack of legal accountability for abuses which would be criminal offences in any other circumstances. When the next government takes office, there’s an urgent need to update the law so that big companies can be prosecuted for the worse cases.
We’ve also campaigned for many years for a ‘supermarkets’ watchdog’ – which resulted in the setting up of the Groceries Code Adjudicator in 2013. This year, the government has been reviewing the remit of the Adjudicator. Traidcraft Exchange has been working with others behind the scenes to make the case for strengthening the watchdog. One of the first tasks of the new government will be to finalise and sign off this review. The more the issue has been raised with our new MPs, the more they will feel able to hold the government to account and make sure the opportunity to strengthen the watchdog is not missed.
You can find your parliamentarian candidates here.
As a charity, Traidcraft Exchange doesn’t endorse any political party, but this election time we’d encourage you to challenge the candidates from all political parties on these issues. And of course to vote!