Is shifting to US-style deregulation the inevitable consequence of Brexit?

Journal: 
Issue: 
Summer 2020
Author(s): 
DOI: 10.3898/SOUN.75.05.2020

A US trade deal is a crucial part of Johnson’s post-Brexit drive towards deregulation. The deal is seen as a golden opportunity to import an American-style lax approach to regulation. For the US negotiators, any imposition of regulations and standards on imported goods is seen as creating unfair barriers for trade. This is the cause of headlines about chlorinated chickens, but will also affect public services - which are regarded as unfair competition. Price regulation - as, for example, for drugs used by the NHS - is also seen as interference. A deal is also likely to include clauses binding the settlement into the ‘corporate courts’ system, which allows businesses to prosecute governments for ‘discriminating’ against them. In the EU Britain was protected against such demands from bigger states, and its MEPS could vote on treaty terms. However UK MPs do not have oversight over such deals. A wide coalition has been formed to oppose the deal, which may be able to reach beyond the ‘Brexit divide’. 

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Soundings 75: System change