The UK government announced that Britain has joined a trade deal so contentious that it united Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in opposition to US membership. The most pressing issue reported from the TPP talks is that Britain has been forced to lower environmental standards as a condition for entry to the deal. Palm oil plantations in Malaysia are a driver of deforestation, threatening biodiversity including the survival of orangutan populations. European tariffs on palm oil aim to stop deforestation, but the UK is understood to have agreed to scrap the tariffs as a condition for entry into the Pacific deal, in effect reneging on deforestation pledges made at the UN climate conference in Glasgow. Brexit Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch has said palm oil is “a great product” after the new UK-Indo-Pacific trade deal was criticised for aiding the destruction of orangutan habitats. As can be seen from the map the UK is thousands of miles away so the carbon footprint on all goods transported will be horrendous, when you are desperate for deals any opportunity has to be snapped up and the environment pushed to one side.

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