Commenting a year before the UK formally exits the European Union, Girish Menon – CEO of ActionAid UK – said:
“With a year to go until Brexit, we’ve heard a lot about how UK trade will bring prosperity to us and to others – including developing countries and the Commonwealth. But ministers need to get this right, otherwise we could do more harm than good.
“At ActionAid, we’ve seen how badly-designed trade deals can hurt people in poor countries – particularly women and girls. Trade deals in the past have prevented developing countries from protecting local industries and public services, while the jobs created can be fundamentally exploitative and unsafe – a race to the bottom to provide cheap labour. We saw this during the Rana Plaza factory disaster of 2013, for example.
“If the UK is to be a global leader after Brexit, ministers must commit to a new generation of trade deals that support – rather than undermine – Britain’s world-leading development work. Our future trade must help, not hurt, the poorest women and girls in the world.”