In the coming months we will see two bills passing through the House of Commons which are crucial to the Brexit process and our future relationship with the European Union: the Trade Bill and the Taxation (Cross Border Trade) Bill, also known as the Customs Bill.
I have lent my support to a number of amendments tabled for the Trade Bill, as follows:
Anna Soubry’s amendment (New Clause 5):
This clause encourages ministers to take all necessary steps to implement an international trade agreement which enables the UK to participate in a customs union with the EU after exit day.
Jonathan Djanogly’s amendment (New Clause 6):
This new clause would set up a triage and scrutiny system under the control of Parliament for determining how Orders under Clause 2 will be dealt with, in circumstances when the new UK free trade agreement or international trade agreement is not in the same terms as the existing EU free trade agreement or international trade agreement.
Stephen Hammond’s amendment (New Clause 9):
This clause encourages ministers to achieve the implementation of an international agreement so that the UK is able to become a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and continue as a signatory to the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement. It stipulates that this should happen before exit day.
Jonathan Djanogly’s amendments (6 & 7):
Essentially, these amendments seek to ensure Henry VIII clauses are used transparently and in line with current EU trade agreements. ‘Henry VIII clauses’ are clauses in a bill that enable ministers to amend or repeal primary legislation (which has already been agreed by Parliament) using secondary legislation which may not be subject to parliamentary scrutiny. These amendments provide that the Henry VIII provisions in Clause 2 of the bill may only be used when a new UK free trade agreement is in the same terms as an existing EU free trade agreement; and when a new UK international trade agreement is in the same terms as an existing EU international trade agreement.
Stephen Hammond’s amendment (20):
This amendment would make it clear that the implementation powers under the Act would apply equally to implementation of any free trade agreement to which the UK is party through EFTA.
Stephen Hammond’s amendment (21):
This amendment would place a duty on the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA), a new body established by the Government to assist with trade advice, to give advice to the Secretary of State on the consequences of membership of EFTA
I hope that these amendments will allow greater Parliamentary scrutiny of any new trade agreements and, as a consequence, will enable better representation of my constituents’ views. I will of course publish any further updates, but in the meantime you can track the progress of the Trade Bill here