Free trade agreements: Parliamentary scrutiny and consent

Trade Bill – in the House of Commons at 3:15 pm on 17th July 2018.

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“(1) The Secretary of State shall not commence negotiations relating to a free trade agreement unless—

(a) a Minister of the Crown has laid before Parliament a sustainability impact assessment conducted by a credible body independent of government following consultation with—

(i) each devolved authority,

(ii) public bodies, businesses, trade unions and non-governmental organisations which, in the opinion of the Minister, have a relevant interest, and

(iii) the public,

and the assessment shall include both qualitative and quantitative assessments of the potential impacts of the proposed trade agreement, including social, economic, environmental, gender, human rights, labour, development and regional impacts,

(b) a Minister of the Crown has laid before Parliament a draft of a negotiating mandate relating to the proposed trade agreement, setting out—

(i) all fields and sectors to be included in the proposed negotiations,

(ii) the principles to underpin the proposed negotiations,

(iii) any limits on the proposed negotiations, and

(iv) the desired outcomes from the proposed negotiations, and

(c) the House of Commons has approved by resolution a motion, drafted in terms which permit amendment, setting out a proposed negotiating mandate and authorising the Secretary of State to enter negotiations on the proposed trade agreement on the basis of that mandate, and the House of Lords has approved a resolution in the same terms as that approved by the House of Commons.

(2) The United Kingdom may not become a signatory to a free trade agreement unless—

(a) during the course of the negotiations, the text of the trade agreement as so far agreed or consolidated has been made publicly available within ten working days of the close of each negotiating round,

(b) between each round of negotiations, all documents relating to the negotiations have been made available for scrutiny by select committees in both Houses of Parliament,

(c) upon conclusion of the negotiations, the House of Commons has approved by resolution a motion, drafted in terms which permit amendment, setting out the text of the trade agreement as negotiated and authorising the Secretary of State to sign the proposed agreement, and the House of Lords has approved a resolution in the same terms as that approved by the House of Commons, and

(d) the text of the trade agreement includes provision for a review of the operation and impacts of the agreement no later than ten years after the day on which the agreement comes into force.”—(Caroline Lucas.)

This new clause would ensure that all new free trade agreements are subject to parliamentary scrutiny and consent.

Brought up, and read the First time.

Question put, That the clause be read a Second time.

The House divided:

Ayes 284, Noes 314.

Division number 216

See full list of votes (From The Public Whip)

Aye

No

Question accordingly negatived.

Proceedings interrupted (Programme Order, this day).

The Speaker put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83 E).

New Clause 20