Lobbyists for big firms made more than 130 demands, which include:
Changing how NHS chiefs buy drugs to suit big US pharmaceutical companies
Britain scraps its safety-first approach to safety and food standards
Law changes that would allow foreign companies to sue the British state
Removal of protections for traditional British products.
It comes as wrangling over Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement reaches its final stages and focus begins to shift to the future relationship the UK will have with the EU and other trading nations.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has previously said “nothing is completely off the table” when it comes to talks with the US.
But Labour MP Ian Murray, a leading campaigner for the pro-second EU referendum group People’s Vote, said: “These plans would effectively turn Britain into an economic colony of the United States and must be resisted.”
Here, HuffPost UK has compiled a list of just 30 US lobbyist demands made to the Office of the United States Trade Representative.
1) Scrap the safety-first approach to food quality and standards
Firms want US negotiators to force Britain to ditch the “precautionary principle” when it comes to food safety standards, multiple submissions to the US government’s consultation demanded.
They added that the two groups “view a trade agreement with the UK as an opportunity for US negotiators to seek the resolution of several non-tariff trade barriers stemming from the EU’s protectionist use of precaution that have plagued US-EU bilateral trade”.
2) Weaken data protection for consumers
Britain has strict regulations which protect the privacy of data and stop it from being sold to third parties.
Adopting the EU-wide GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) rules last year made companies more accountable for data protection, a move that is credited with giving people more control over their data.
But, in their submission, the American Property Casualty Insurance
Association said it was made clear some firms see UK data rules as a barrier.
8) Bin protections for traditional British products
Lots of US lobbyists want negotiators to pressure Britain to scrap protections for British produce which regulate how they’re marketed.
The ‘Geographical Indicator’ regulation, currently guaranteed under EU law, stops much-loved products like Stilton and Cornish pasties being imitated by American firms, or indeed anyone, so it’s easy to see why US industry would want rid of it.
The US pharmaceutical business lobby wants to change the British system for evaluating drugs in a way that would suit American firms.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America berates the NHS’s current risk-averse system, designed to guard the publicly-funded service against paying for ineffective and overpriced drugs, as “rigid” and a “blunt containment tool”.
11) Ensure Brits’ data can be transferred to foreign countries …
… where it would not necessarily be protected.
The EU and UK is currently pursuing laws which would prevent data from being transferred across borders to other countries where regulation differs wildly. However, the US tech sector wants a new rule which would override any such law in a UK-US trade deal.
BSA – The Software Alliance says the deal should “obligate the parties to permit the cross-border transfer of data” and “prohibit data localisation requirements”.
12) Allow politicians, not courts, to handle legal disputes
The AFL-CIO group’s ask would vastly restrict the ability of individuals and companies to seek remedies and would mean governments, rather than independent legal experts, make binding rulings on whether the terms of the trade deal have been observed.
13) Allow foreign businesses to sue the British state
A separate investor-state dispute settlement scheme has also been suggested for a US-UK trade deal.
This one, suggested by the powerful Security Industry and Financial Markets Association, would allow multinational companies to sue the Britain over regulations or interventions the state makes in the country’s or citizens’ interests.
A crucial difference of this scheme would mean cases would not be heard in the British courts but in arbitration courts which are not subject to domestic law.
In a recent case in a similar scheme, the Australian government was sued under a similar mechanism for trying to remove branding from cigarettes, for example.
14) Stop Britain holding big social media companies to account
Concerns have been growing over the role social media has played not only in damaging young people’s mental health but a huge range of issues plaguing modern life, including a resurgence of sexism, racism and harassment.
The Computing Technology Industry Association says negotiators should ensure “the UK does not adopt measures that would impose liability as a publisher, creator, or speaker of information on third party distributors or intermediaries of that information”.
This would prevent the British government from trying to hold tech firms to account for what they publish after any US-UK trade deal.
15) End rules that let British shoppers know what colourings are in their food
US confectionary firms want to see regulation rolled back so they don’t have to make UK shoppers know what colourings are in foods.
This would risk preventing shoppers knowing whether they are buying sweets and chocolate containing chemicals and E-numbers.
Fears are growing worldwide about the spread of antibiotic resistance.
The World Health Organisation has cited it as one of the biggest problems the globe faces in 2018, with concern rising that doctors will find infections more difficult to treat if the drug stops working.
NHS chiefs have warned antibiotic use in farm animals “threatens human health” and Britain and the EU are close to bringing in regulation restricting its use.
But the National Pork Producers Council wants Trump to guarantee the UK does not regulate so it can sell antibiotic-filled meat to UK customers.