EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement

Part of Food Advertising (Protection of Children from Targeting) – in the House of Commons at 3:39 pm on 26th June 2018.

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Photo of Geraint Davies Geraint Davies Labour/Co-operative, Swansea West 3:39 pm, 26th June 2018

It is a pleasure to follow Mr Fysh, who made a number of interesting points about the uncertainties we face. In particular, we have Brexit day in March and then a transition period, and our status within this very welcome EU-Japan deal is very uncertain.

The first key point I want to make is that we should relish the fact, as Greg Hands essentially did, that we have been part of the EU and have had the strength of the EU to enable us to negotiate a good deal. The real fear is that, after Brexit, we will be a stand-alone country facing big opportunities but also big challenges—whether with Japan, China or Trump’s United States. That is something I very much regret.

It is good to see that we do not have an investment court system in the Japan deal. That underlines the point that such a system is simply unnecessary for trading between two mature economies in democracies with established judiciaries, because there is already protection for investors. That is the case for Canada, and also for trade with the United States, in which investors are protected. The problem with investment court systems is that they put the investor first, above the environment or the public interest. There is an endless list of examples, but—[Interruption.] The Under-Secretary of State is chuntering from the Front Bench. By way of example, let us take George Osborne’s sugar tax. When such a tax was introduced in Mexico, such a system was used to sue Mexico for the profits lost by protecting people from diabetes, so these things do happen.