I beg to move,
That this House
takes note of European Union Document No. 7959/18 and Addenda 1 to 11, Proposal for a Council Decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Japan;
and European Union Document No. 7960/18 and Addenda 1 to 11, Proposal for a Council Decision on the conclusion of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Japan;
and welcomes the proposed signature and conclusion of the agreement.
I am delighted to be here today to debate the EU-Japan economic partnership agreement, although I confess it feels slightly peculiar to be standing here and speaking to the House after three years of silence. The agreement is broad and ambitious, offering excellent opportunities to the UK. The Government have long supported the EPA, and I welcome the opportunity today to set this out in my new role. However, let me first take a moment to thank my predecessor, my right hon. Friend Greg Hands, for all his works as the Minister for Trade Policy and indeed for his kinds words in the previous debate. He did an excellent job in promoting UK businesses around the world and shaping our future independent trade policy—I very much recognise that I have large shoes to fill.