benefits, free trade, agreements, TTIP, Ceta, Nafta

Who really benefits from free trade agreements like TTIP, Ceta and Nafta?

Matthew d’Ancona asserts that “the vigorous exchange of goods and labour is the greatest engine of prosperity the world has ever known” (Brexit meets Trumpism: the new special relationship, 14 November). Had he prefaced his remark with “the fair and vigorous exchange” I might have agreed with him. As it is, his comment is a meaningless mantra. Prosperity for whom? For a few, certainly, but not for millions of people in former manufacturing and mining areas, or for most people in those countries to which manufacturing and mining jobs have been transferred.

Matthew floats a scare story about hugely escalating costs of goods in the absence of free trade. Let me ask him this: would he support the free trade of goods produced by slaves, because it would make things even cheaper? I assume he wouldn’t. But does he support those same goods being produced by people (often children, effectively in forced labour) paid pittances? Seemingly so, because that is the reality of much of current globalisation.

Fair trade should be welcomed. It is innovative and efficient. But the unfettered free trade we have now, based largely upon who can pay least to those producing our goods, is not fair trade. It has run its course. It has failed almost everyone and it is time the left woke up to that fact and grabbed the initiative from the far right, who have been allowed to benefit from the legitimate anger and frustration of ordinary people.
Mike Mosley
Norwich

A key lesson we need to draw from Donald Trump’s election is that toxic trade deals like the US-EU agreement TTIP are as unwanted in American society as in Europe. Trump cynically exploited public anger about these deals to win the US presidency. But we know, like Ukip here, that Trump is actually in favour of deregulation, privatisation and putting profit before people. His policies will not serve the interests of working-class communities, they will simply divide them and create the sorts of international tensions that, in previous times, sparked world wars.

TTIP was killed off by a movement of ordinary people who believe in an open, equal and democratic society where diversity is embraced and everyone’s rights are respected. We objected to TTIP because it would be bad for ordinary people and will hand power to big money – to businessmen like Donald Trump.

A key lesson we need to draw from Donald Trump’s election is that toxic trade deals like the US-EU agreement TTIP are as unwanted in American society as in Europe. Trump cynically exploited public anger about these deals to win the US presidency. But we know, like Ukip here, that Trump is actually in favour of deregulation, privatisation and putting profit before people. His policies will not serve the interests of working-class communities, they will simply divide them and create the sorts of international tensions that, in previous times, sparked world wars.

TTIP was killed off by a movement of ordinary people who believe in an open, equal and democratic society where diversity is embraced and everyone’s rights are respected. We objected to TTIP because it would be bad for ordinary people and will hand power to big money – to businessmen like Donald Trump.

The new UK economic policy where we will embrace the opportunities of the future is the old smoke and mirrors. The prime minister seems to have overlooked the fact that most of the UK’s large companies are owned by foreign investors. Where will their loyalties lie? Not with the British workers but with their global shareholders. Wake up, Mrs May: we are in huge debt to China, Japanese companies take the profits from our car industry, and the Norwegian sovereign fund owns a large part of Regent Street in London. We can take the lead, but it will be to the advantage of global shareholders, not British workers.
Linda Karlsen
Whitstable, Kent

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