The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – a series of controversial trade negotiations between the EU and the US – would threaten the UK’s public services, according to Brexit campaigners.
Nigel Griffiths, head of strategy for Labour GO, said: “Britain will be better off outside the European Union if its sham free trade deal with the United States is signed.”
Jeremy Corbyn has also previously warned TTIP could “sign away a lot of public services across the whole continent”.
But the Labour leader is backing Britain remaining in the EU angering some within the party.
The bi-lateral trade agreement, which is largely being discussed in secret, could open up Europe’s public health, education and water services to US companies – and result privatisation of the NHS.
TTIP would also seek to bring EU standards on food safety and the environment closer to those in the US, which are much less strict.
The US has far laxer restrictions on the use of pesticides and 70 per cent of all processed foods sold in supermarkets contain genetically modified products – while the EU allows virtually no GM foods.
Even the EU has admitted TTIP will probably cause unemployment as many jobs would move to the US, where labour standards and trade union rights are lower.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said “no democracy” would support the secretive TTIP if it is similar to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between the US and Pacific countries.
Mr Stiglitz added: “It would make me think certainly over again about whether membership of the EU was a good idea.”
The economist wanted TTIP would mean almost every time the UK passed a regulation to limit the health impact of toxins such as asbestos or to tackle climate change “you would be sued” by corporations.
TPP is one of the most ambitious free trade agreements ever signed, which aims to slash tariffs and foster trade to boost growth.
However, critics say the trade deal has brought in sweeping changes without voters’ knowledge and that it will pave the way for companies to due governments that change policy on health and education to favour state-provided services.
European and US officials hope to conclude TTIP by the end of the year, amid widespread opposition from Labour movements across the continent and many non-party campaign groups in the UK.
If adopted, TTIP will be biggest trade agreement of its kind, representing nearly half of the world’s GDP and a quarter of world trade.