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Pacific trade deal ‘will make mockery of UK’s climate ambitions’

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The UK’s membership of a Pacific trade agreement will result in more deforestation overseas, endanger animal welfare and “make a mockery” of the government’s environmental commitments, campaigners have said.

Ministers signed an agreement late last week for the UK to become a member of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trading bloc of 11 nations including Japan, Canada, Australia and Mexico.

The government said membership of the bloc would add about £1.8bn a year to the UK’s economy and free up trade for products such as whisky and pork. But environmental groups have raised concerns about the implications of the trade deal after the UK agreed to scrap European tariffs on palm oil as a condition for entry into the Pacific deal.

Last week Kemi Badenoch, the trade secretary, told Sky News that “you have to make trade-offs” in signing trade deals, and that palm oil was “a great product” and “not some illegal substance”. She added: “There are other crops in the EU that are causing deforestation that fit within EU…

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