Thank you for contacting me about the Trade Bill.
The Trade Bill is about preserving and ensuring the continuity of the agreements we already have with other countries via the EU. This will prevent disruption to existing trade and protect access to global markets for thousands of British businesses and people as we leave the EU.
Contrary to claims made by some, the Trade Bill, currently on its passage through Parliament, does not legislate for powers that could be used when implementing new Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with countries with whom the EU does not already have a FTA before exit day. The UK is already party to these trade agreements by virtue of our membership of the EU.
I agree that Parliamentary scrutiny is essential and I thoroughly understand the need for democratic accountability. The trade agreements which the Government are intending to transition are existing trade agreements which will have already been scrutinised by Parliament’s EU Committees.
On public services and standards, the UK Government ensures that decisions about how public services and outcomes are delivered for UK citizens are made by UK Governments, including the Devolved Administrations, not our trade partners. As we leave the EU, the UK will continue to ensure that rigorous protections, including for the NHS and other public services, are included in all trade agreements to which it is party.
In addition the Department for International Trade’s White Paper commits the Government to a transparent and inclusive trade policy and giving Parliament, the devolved administrations and legislatures, local government, business, trade unions, civil society, and the public from every part of the UK the opportunity to engage with and contribute to our trade policy, as well as taking into account the views of the Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories, including Gibraltar.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.