Approval of draft decisions under Article 352 of TFEU

Part of European Union (Approvals) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 10th October 2017.

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Photo of Andrew Bowie Andrew Bowie Conservative, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine 5:45 pm, 10th October 2017

As the hon. Gentleman knows, that was well before my time in this House so I would not feel entirely comfortable commenting on that. This debate is not about CETA.

The decisions taken in the EU Council being approved by us today for agreement by the European Parliament will replace the 1999 competition and co-operation agreement. As the Minister said, the agreement replicates and builds on the provisions in the earlier agreement by allowing the European Commission and the Canadian Competition Bureau to exchange evidence obtained during investigations, including confidential information and personal data. These decisions will further help British businesses thrive internationally, as both Canadian and European business benefit from strong international competition law. On anti-competitive business practices, we must continue to work with Europe and Canada after we leave the European Union. We on the Conservative Benches know that the only way to reliably increase long-term living standards is through trade. Fair competitive trade is, as we know, the catalyst for reducing poverty, spreading prosperity and fostering innovation.

An outward-looking global Britain, as we will be, must continue to fight fair for business practices across the globe to ensure that free trade works for everyone. I hope the European Union recognises that the approval of its agreements is done in good faith, because it benefits citizens and businesses across the United Kingdom, Europe and Canada. In approving these decisions, we not only signal our commitment to the future of a peaceful and prosperous Europe, reaffirming our position as its closest and most dependable friend, but signal our continued desire to promote fair competition, free trade and an ambitious future for ourselves and our partners across the world.