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Andrew Jones Member of Parliament for Harrogate & Knaresborough

Andrew Jones MP

Member of Parliament for Harrogate & Knaresborough

Trade Bill

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Trade Bill and parliamentary scrutiny.

I absolutely understand the need for parliamentary scrutiny of trade agreements as we leave the European Union, which is why I welcome the Government’s continued commitment to a transparent and inclusive trade policy.

Let me reassure you that the Trade Bill only legislates to implement trade agreements that the UK is already signed up to through our membership of the EU. In order to provide continuity in our country’s existing trade relationships, for both businesses and citizens, these agreements will be transitioned into UK law. These transitioned agreements will be based, as closely as possible, on the corresponding trade agreement that each partner country has with the EU.

The Trade Bill only allows the UK to make regulations to implement obligations in any international trade agreements which our country already has with partner countries, provided that these countries have signed a corresponding agreement with the EU before our withdrawal. The powers in the Trade Bill cannot be used to implement new trade agreements with new partners that do not exist before exit day.

I welcome that the Government listened to concerns and tabled its own amendments to the Trade Bill to increase parliamentary scrutiny for these transitioned agreements. These place a duty on the Secretary of State to lay before Parliament a report detailing the changes made to each of the transitioned agreements and highlighting what it is that has changed. In addition, each of these regulations will be subject to the affirmative resolution process to ensure greater transparency and scrutiny for Parliament.

On the wider issue of parliamentary scrutiny of trade agreements, the Government has made absolutely clear that Parliament will have a vital role to play in our future trade policy. The Secretary of State for International Trade made a Statement to the House on future scrutiny of trade agreements on Monday 16 July 2018.

The Trade Bill is now in the House of Lords and any amendments will now come back before the House.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

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