Draft EU-Canada Trade Agreement Order

Part of Food Advertising (Protection of Children from Targeting) – in the House of Commons at 12:56 pm on 26th June 2018.

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Photo of Liam Fox Liam Fox The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade 12:56 pm, 26th June 2018

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. Of course, our ability to take full advantage of what we have already agreed depends on our passing both the Trade Bill and the customs Bill in this House. If we are unable to do so, we will be unable to provide that continuity for businesses and workers in the United Kingdom, which would be hugely to their disadvantage. I hope that the Opposition will think again about their vote against the Trade Bill on Second Reading, and will give it the fair wind that it deserves during its subsequent stages.

It is important for the UK that CETA is ratified successfully by all EU member states, because ratification by all member states is required for the treaty to enter fully into force. This will give Canadian and EU businesses greater certainty that the agreement will continue on into the future.

Areas that were not provisionally applied include a large part of the chapter on investment, including the new investment court system, about which there has been extensive discussion in Parliament and in wider civil society. The UK supports the principle of investment protection, and looks forward to engaging further with the Commission on the technical detail of the investment court system. We support the objectives of obtaining fair outcomes for claims, high ethical standards for arbitrators and increased transparency of tribunal hearings.

I also want to be clear that investment protection provisions protect investors from discriminatory or unfair treatment by a state. This includes protection of UK institutional investors—for example, pension funds—where we have a duty to ensure that individual investments are protected. We have over 90 such agreements in place with other countries. There has never been a successful investor-state dispute settlement claim brought against the United Kingdom, nor has the threat of potential claims affected any Government’s legislative programme.