EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement

Part of Food Advertising (Protection of Children from Targeting) – in the House of Commons at 2:40 pm on 26th June 2018.

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Photo of George Hollingbery George Hollingbery Minister of State (International Trade) 2:40 pm, 26th June 2018

My hon. Friend is absolutely right: we should seek to do the widest, deepest and most ambitious trade deal that we possibly can.

In the light of the European Court of Justice opinion on competence in the EU-Singapore FTA of May 2017, which helped to clarify the scope of the common commercial policy, the Japan EPA is to be concluded as an EU-only agreement. That means that it will fully enter into force once Japan has ratified it, should the European Council and the European Parliament support its conclusion. I am aware of the implications of this approach on the role of Parliament in the scrutiny and conclusion of the EPA, and of EU-only trade agreements going forward, because it means that ratification by Parliament is not required for an agreement to enter fully into force. I am also acutely aware of Parliament’s interest in the Government’s approach to the scrutiny of future UK trade deals and trade policy. That is one reason that I welcome the opportunity to debate the EU-Japan EPA today, as it rightly ensures that Parliament has the fullest opportunity to scrutinise the agreement, under the current EU scrutiny structure. I am pleased to be able to go beyond what is simply required ahead of signature, in line with the Government’s commitment to transparency.