National Trade Conversation

National Trade Conversation

Which? has carried out groundbreaking research with consumers around the UK, collecting the nation’s thoughts on future trade deals.

People drawn from all walks of life across the country gave up their time to get to grips with and debate a range of trade issues – guided by trade experts through a unique deliberative process.

Close to a hundred people from five different regions of the UK took part in the research over several weeks, debating key issues for trade, from food and farming to consumer rights and protections.

Here’s an introduction to our trade research:

The process involved over 12 hours of information sessions, facilitated discussions and reflective tasks, across two weeks, giving participants an opportunity to explore trade deals in great depth.

It was surprising that
the US and Australia have
lower safety standards
than ours, and I
think that’s quite
shocking really.

– Participant in The National
Trade Conversation from the
East Coast of Scotland

From these deliberative sessions emerged four overall priorities for most of the people who took part.

Firstly: maintaining health and safety standards for food and products.

Secondly: maintaining data security regulations that protect consumers’ digital rights.

Thirdly: protecting the environment.

And fourthly: help address regional inequalities by protecting and promoting jobs, skills and industries across the UK.

The government should build on the findings and the process of The National Trade Conversation, ensuring it engages more people in discussions about its priorities for trade policy and trade deals

Drawing on the findings of the research, we have written up recommendations for the UK’s future trade policy. They can be read here:

Click to view our report

The wider picture: implications for trade

It is essential that trade deals deliver meaningful benefits for consumers in their everyday lives; it is also essential consumers are involved in the negotiation process.

Click to download the full report
PDF [114KB]