2018 WBG Briefing: Trade and Investment

Date Posted: Monday 22nd October 2018

October 2018


Ahead of the 2018 Autumn Budget, we’ve put together a briefing on the gender implications of future trade deals after the UK leaves the EU.

View and download our full briefing here.

Key Points
  • Trade agreements impact differently on women and men. Poorly designed trade policies can prioritise the interests of multinational corporations and wealthy countries over equality and human rights.
  • Brexit is extremely likely to have a negative impact on the UK economy. Numerous studies have shown that UK GDP is likely to be lower once we leave the EU than it would have been had we stayed.
  • Post Brexit the UK will have diminished negotiating power that will leave it in a weaker position to resist trade deals that reduce environmental or consumer standards.
  • New UK Trade deals could include clauses that have serious impact on public services, for example preventing a government taking a privatised service back into the public sector or limiting the ability of governments to regulate services. This will have a disproportionate impact on women who are more likely to depend on public services and more likely to work in the public sector.
  • Treaties on investment have allowed corporations to sue Governments for a wide range of actions including environmental and health protections, regulation of finance or increasing the national minimum wage.

Written by James Harrison (Reader in Law, University of Warwick and Co-Director of the Centre for Human Rights in Practice) and
Mary-Ann Stephenson (Director of the Women’s Budget Group)