EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement

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

As the hon. Lady will know, this is not part of the current agreement because, at this stage, there was not agreement between the two parties on how it should work—it is not because it could and would not work because neither party would agree to it. Therefore, I cannot give her the assurance that she is seeking.

To conclude, the EU-Japan EPA is an excellent agreement for the UK that will benefit UK exporters, importers and consumers. During the implementation period, the United Kingdom will seek to retain access to EU free trade agreements while gaining the right to negotiate, sign and ratify new trade agreements. Japan’s commitment to establish a new bilateral economic partnership with the UK based on the final terms of the EPA is clear.

Colleagues can rest assured that the UK will continue to be a strong advocate of free trade globally, and a defender of the multilateral rules-based system. The Government are committed to a truly global Britain as we leave the EU, where we seize the opportunity to engage with partners around the world in the shared pursuit of prosperity and security. As to future scrutiny arrangements, the Government are clear that Parliament will have a crucial role to play in the scrutiny and ratification of the UK’s future trade deals, and proposals on this will come forward in due course.

The EU-Japan EPA has a positive role to play for the UK, the wider EU and global free trade in general. I look forward to the UK demonstrating our support for the agreement when Council adopts decisions on conclusion and signature, and I urge my fellow hon. Members to support the Government’s motion to that effect today.