New Clause 12 - Impact assessment: UK performers’ rights

Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 19 March 2024.

Alert me about debates like this

Votes in this debate

“(1) The Secretary of State must publish an assessment of the impact of the implementation of performers' rights provisions in the CPTPP.

(2) The impact assessment under subsection (1) must include—

(a) consideration of the impact of performers’ rights provisions on qualifying individuals in the UK;

(b) an assessment of the reciprocity of rights across qualifying countries;

(c) consultation with such persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate.”—(Sarah Green.)

This new clause would mean the Government must publish an assessment of the impact the performer’s rights provisions in the CPTPP will have on qualifying individuals in the UK.

Brought up, and read the First time.

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

Division number 111 Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [Lords]: New Clause 12

Aye: 218 MPs

No: 305 MPs

Aye: A-Z by last name


No: A-Z by last name


The House divided: Ayes 219, Noes 306.

Question accordingly negatived.

Third Reading

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities 5:44, 19 March 2024

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

I would like to thank Members across the House and noble Lords in the other place for the interest they have shown in this legislation throughout its passage. The Bill may be narrow in scope, but the underlying agreement it relates to and the benefits it could bring for British business, the economy and the British people are wide-ranging. By acceding to the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership, we will strengthen our ties with some of the world’s most dynamic economies and gain greater access to the Indo-Pacific region, which will account for the majority of global growth and around half of the world’s middle-class consumers in the decades to come.

Crucially, acceding to the CPTPP will mean improved market access for UK exporters in existing CPTPP parties, including Malaysia and Brunei—our very first free trade deal with these fast-growing economies. In turn, the partnership will simplify supply chains and cut costs for innovative firms based here in the UK, such as Wrightbus, a long-established family-owned Northern Ireland bus manufacturer, which will benefit from opportunities to import parts at lower tariffs from Malaysia. We have also agreed more liberal rules of origin with Malaysia, making it simpler for British brands such as Jaguar Land Rover to export British-designed, British-made vehicles to that market at lower tariffs.

However, our future accession will be good not just for British businesses selling their goods abroad but for consumers here at home. It could provide consumers with wider choice and cheaper prices at the supermarket checkout, on everything from Chilean and Peruvian fruit juices to honey and chocolate from Mexico. Inward investment in the UK by CPTPP parties will be encouraged when we accede, building on some £182 billion-worth of investment in job-creating projects in 2021 alone.

As hon. Members will know, the Bill affects the whole of the UK. Clause 3 and the parts of the schedule relating to Government procurement engage the Sewel convention, so we have sought legislative consent from the Scottish Parliament, the Senedd and the Northern Ireland Assembly. Let me reassure hon. Members that there has been regular engagement with the devolved Administrations before the Bill was introduced and throughout its passage at both Ministerial and official level. I thank the devolved Administrations’ Ministers and their teams for working so constructively with us. It is in part thanks to their efforts that the Scottish Parliament passed a legislative consent motion in February. The Welsh Government published a legislative consent motion on 5 March and recommended that consent be granted to clause 3 and relevant parts of the schedule. Due to a mis-step during the moving and consideration of the motion, that legislative consent was not granted. I understand there are plans for a further Senedd vote on legislative consent for clause 3 and relevant parts of the schedule. However, in the event that a further vote is not scheduled in the Senedd before Royal Assent, the UK Government will proceed with the Bill without consent from Wales.

Members will know that the Northern Ireland Assembly was suspended when the Bill was introduced last November, which prevented us from seeking legislative consent at that time. However, my Department has engaged with Northern Ireland officials throughout this period, providing them with updates as the Bill has progressed through Parliament.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

I thank the Secretary of State for her positive remarks about all the regions of the United Kingdom, which is good to hear. In her discussions with the Northern Ireland Assembly, has there been an opportunity to engage with the businesses in Northern Ireland that have been holding things together, and the Ulster Farmers’ Union? The Secretary of State is always energetic when it comes to pursuing those matters, but it is important to have that reassurance.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

The hon. Gentleman raises a good point, and he is quite right. My right hon. Friend Minister for Trade Policy has engaged with them. In fact, upon the return of the Northern Ireland Assembly, he wrote to the Minister for Finance at the earliest opportunity to request legislative consent. I am grateful that the Minister agreed with the Bill’s devolution analysis and, in principle, to begin the legislative consent process. Nevertheless, we still face a challenging timeline and a pressing need for the Bill to complete its passage. That is vital to allow for secondary legislation to be made and for ratification of the UK’s accession protocol. As such, we cannot delay passage of the Bill to allow the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly greater time to consider legislative consent. That would jeopardise all the current ratification timelines. I recognise that the legislative consent process is normally concluded before the last amending stage in the second House. Given the timing of the return of the Northern Ireland Assembly, that has been extremely challenging, but I believe it is still right that we allow the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly as much time as we can to consider our request. In the event that legislative consent is not granted by the Northern Ireland Assembly before the deadline for Royal Assent, we will still have to proceed. Failing to do so would compromise the commitments we have made in our accession protocol.

On Second Reading, I outlined the wealth of benefits that will come with the UK’s accession to the CPTPP: the growth-spurring and business-boosting effect it will have on our economy. Since that time, we have had some spirited and worthwhile debates. I would particularly like to thank the hon. Members for Harrow West (Gareth Thomas) and for Gordon (Richard Thomson) for the constructive manner in which they scrutinised the legislation. I commend those Members who sat on the Public Bill Committee, including my hon. Friend Philip Davies and Rupa Huq, who showed their great expertise as Chairs. I also thank the Minister for Trade Policy, my right hon. Friend Greg Hands for expertly shepherding this legislation through the House with his consummate skill and good humour, and for delivering what appears to be a clean Bill. I will let Members review Hansard to see how many times my right hon. Friend reminded the hon. Member for Harrow West that he voted for CRaG. I think I heard that quite a lot throughout the debate.

It would be remiss of me not to mention a number of other Members by name for their valued input throughout the Bill’s passage, including my hon. Friend Anthony Mangnall, whose Second Reading speech and interventions made an excellent case not just for UK accession to CPTPP, but for the benefits of free trade more generally. I am also grateful to him for highlighting the scrutiny provided by the recent Trade and Agriculture Commission report on the UK’s agreement to accede to the CPTPP—a report that stated that the CPTPP does not require the UK to change its levels of statutory protection in relation to animal or plant life, health, animal welfare or environmental protection.

On Second Reading, we also heard useful insights from several of the Prime Minister’s trade envoys, notably my hon. Friends the Members for Wyre Forest (Mark Garnier), for Gloucester (Richard Graham) and for Cleethorpes (Martin Vickers), as well as from Dan Carden. Liam Byrne, as Chair of the Business and Trade Committee, brought a critical eye to bear on aspects of the underlying agreement, on which I hope he has now been reassured. My hon. Friend Dr Hudson rightly championed the UK’s high food and animal welfare standards that the Government will continue to protect, and my right hon. Friend Sir Iain Duncan Smith demonstrated his well-honed ability to probe legislation with regards to the future potential accessions of economies to the CPTPP. The Business and Trade Committee more broadly has my thanks for its engagement with, and scrutiny of, this important Bill.

This legislation will help to ensure that the UK meets its international obligations upon accession to the CPTPP. When the Bill achieves Royal Assent, it will mean that we have put the UK at the heart of a dynamic group of countries in the Indo-Pacific, providing new opportunities for British companies to sell more of their high-quality goods and services to a market of over 500 million people and a combined GDP of £9 trillion. With that in mind, and in the hope that it will therefore garner support from all hon. and right hon. Members, I am pleased to commend the Bill to the House.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade) 5:52, 19 March 2024

We support the UK’s accession to the CPTPP. Despite the concerns we raised during the Bill’s stages, we have not stood in the way of its passage through this House thus far and we do not intend to divide the House on Third Reading. We recognise the geopolitical benefits and the economic benefits, limited none the less as they are likely to be in the near future.

In Committee, we outlined a series of concerns about the inclusion of provisions on the investor-state dispute settlement, and its implications for the NHS, the environment and workers’ rights. We raised concerns about performer’s rights and why on earth the Government chose to launch a consultation on the provisions after the Bill had already begun making its way through Parliament—talk about putting the cart before the horse. We also raised environmental concerns, probing Ministers about deforestation, palm oil, increased carbon emissions, the use of pesticides, threats to indigenous wildlife, and the undermining of the UK’s commitment to combating climate change and preserving biodiversity.

The Secretary of State promised a debate on CPTPP under the CRaG process to the Business and Trade Committee. In Committee, we were also promised a debate on CPTPP by the Minister under CRaG, which has not happened. I say it gently to them both: sadly, it is one more example of Ministers ducking scrutiny of the trade deals they sign. It is almost as if they have something to hide.

We have been grateful in particular to the TUC, Chester Zoo, the World Wildlife Fund, the Trade Justice Movement, Transform Trade, the National Farmers Union, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Alliance for Intellectual Property for their help in ensuring that we fully understood the implications of the Bill. I am grateful for their generosity with their time and expertise.

One cannot help feeling that had the Government initiated a thorough consultation exercise much earlier in the proceedings, before the CPTPP was a done deal, we might have come out of the negotiations as less of a rule-taker and with a better deal for the UK. Better consultation with the nations and regions could have happened throughout the whole CPTPP process, but both the Scottish and the Welsh Governments lamented poor communication at key stages from Ministers. Hopefully lessons have been learnt, and we will all have to take the opportunity of the CPTPP review in 2026 to look at what more can be achieved.

I thank all the members of the Public Bill Committee. I particularly thank my fellow shadow Minister, my hon. Friend Mr Dhesi, for his invaluable contributions, help and support during the Bill’s passage, but I also thank my hon. Friends the Members for City of Chester (Samantha Dixon), for Cardiff North (Anna McMorrin), for Reading East (Matt Rodda) and for Hammersmith (Andy Slaughter) for their time and commitment to that part of the scrutiny process. I thank Members on both sides of the House, and those in the Lords, who—on Second Reading, in Committee and on Report—have joined in the hard yards, the necessary work, of scrutinising what is a key trade arrangement. I thank the Minister of State, too, for his particularly generous description of me in Committee as a “serial rebel”—which might surprise one or two—and I thank both him and the Secretary of State for their other contributions, some of which have been helpful. [Laughter.] I hope that the dialogue, especially that on the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants and on performers’ rights, will continue, and I thank the Ministers for their letters to me on those issues.

The UK’s joining the CPTPP will not make up for the Government’s failure to deliver a good trade deal with Europe, or the Conservatives’ broken manifesto commitment that 80% of the world would be covered by new trade agreements—including a trade deal with India, which the Secretary of State herself said this month was highly unlikely to happen any time soon. We remain in the dark as to whether we will ever be tasked with scrutinising a UK-Canada trade deal, or whether negotiations are indeed ongoing, as the Minister says, or they are not, as the Canadians say. What we do know is that, while the Government have made some outlandish claims about the benefits of the UK’s joining the CPTPP, it is likely, as the Office for Budget Responsibility has said, to lead to just a slight increase in GDP “in the long run”. With exports having dropped last year and set to drop further this year, and given the three following years of anaemic growth in exports, even the smallest opportunity for growth is welcome.

The Bill is needed to incorporate the CPTPP agreement in domestic legislation, and that is something that we do not oppose. There are benefits to joining, and despite reservations, we certainly welcome the opportunities that will be opened up for some British businesses. For those reasons, as I have said, we will not stand in the way of the Bill’s completing its passage tonight.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey Conservative, Suffolk Coastal 5:58, 19 March 2024

It is a pleasure to speak on Third Reading. I must admit that I had hoped we would be closer to the moment of interruption at this stage, because there is further business on the Order Paper relating to energy strategy, which I spoke about earlier in the Delegated Legislation Committee; but even I do not want to test the patience of the House by speaking for the best part of an hour.

This is a truly monumental moment for the United Kingdom. Having left the European Union, we are planting our flag around the world and making sure that we drive free trade. It is right to believe, on the basis of all the evidence, that free trade is good for this country, and good for prosperity throughout the world.

I feel an element of sadness about some of the trade agreements made when we were in the European Union, as it seemed that some of the poorest countries in the world were being deprived of a proper trading relationship. I refer to the trend whereby it is still only sub-Saharan African nations that truly are exceptionally poor; unfortunately, at times it felt as though those countries were being deprived of a lot of prosperity due to EU protectionism, but we now have the opportunity to branch out on our own in that regard. We should remember that a lot of African nations are our brothers and sisters in the Commonwealth. Of course I understand that World Trade Organisation regulations apply to everybody, but it is important that we try to factor in what we can do to get wealth to as many nations as possible, because that would be good for this country and for others around the world.

Gareth Thomas said that there was no consultation. Actually, the consultation journey started in 2018. I think it was initiated when my right hon. Friend Sir Liam Fox was the Trade Secretary. My right hon. Friends the Members for South West Norfolk (Elizabeth Truss), and for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Anne-Marie Trevelyan), and the person who really cemented the deal—the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, my right hon. Friend Kemi Badenoch—have really taken us on that journey.

We should give the Prime Minister credit for his proactive approach to trade, and the red lines that he was prepared to draw for our farmers, recognising that we have some of the best farming and food production in the world. Those red lines are not about trying to be protectionist, but reasonable standards, the prosperity of our nation and ensuring a two-way street.

In my time as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, this work really mattered. I am conscious of the discussions that have taken place, and I appreciate that it can seem frustrating that we are only involved after the trade negotiations, in ratifying the agreement, but I can assure the House that it was imperative that we got the balance right when it came to values and red lines. I again pay tribute to the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister for securing a really good deal.

It is important that we take advantage of this treaty. There are certainly far more agricultural attachés now. It is important that people do not just focus on what might be imported into this country and what that means for standards, because we have been very strong on the standards agreed in this treaty. In fact, we have more problem with the fact that there are not the same animal welfare standards across the European Union; we need to work on that as part of our ongoing relationship, and as part of our free trade agreement with the EU.

There are other factors of concern; for example, there is the fact that production costs are a lot lower in some of the 11 other member states of the treaty. We have the living wage, but we also have access to grants and things like robotic milking machines—something I never thought I would see, but which, as I saw at the Great Yorkshire Show last year, works exceptionally well. One of the key measures in the Agriculture Act 2020 was brought in to validate people’s concerns. That is why I want to pay tribute to the Trade and Agriculture Commission, which produced a pretty hefty report after establishing its initial terms of reference. The process started in July 2023 and the report was published in December 2023, and was designed to cover issues of environmental protection, animal and plant life or health, and animal welfare. It is worth reading.

The key question that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State asked the commission was:

“Does CPTPP require the UK to change its levels of statutory protection” in all those areas? The report basically said, “No, we don’t need to. In fact, WTO rules mean that we can keep our statutory protections in all these areas, and there is no impact on our ability to adopt statutory protections in the future and to maintain the ones we have.” That really matters, because at the time, other nations—and, dare I say it, environmental groups here—were trying to bring lots of different elements into the discussion. As I said, I will not keep the House as long as I had originally intended, but I should like to mention Malaysian palm oil, and hormone-treated beef and similar; absolutely no way will the United Kingdom allow that sort of product into this country. We certainly made sure that was a red line.

I am conscious that Third Reading will be agreed, but I want to say a few extra things on issues raised by the National Farmers Union. It is really important that we take them seriously. We said that we would look at all the standards when we went into new trade deals, and the Trade and Agriculture Commission did a very thorough job, for which I commend it. The NFU would like us to go even further on domestic production standards. Importantly, we are now part of this global treaty, and we did not seek to require others to re-ratify the laws in their countries by adding elements. All the member states are already party to various international conventions on the environment, and it is important to note that we have new allies. As we take this step forward and try to increase trade, we need to make sure that we can share our learning and understanding, and show how it adds value. I genuinely believe that when we start to increase significantly the number of agricultural products that we send to other parts of the world through this treaty, it will show that those foods can be sold at a premium.

I was fortunate enough in my time in government to visit some of the countries in the CPTPP. Most recently, I visited Vietnam. Such visits are important for making sure that good standards are in place, and that those countries are our friends in the future. Several of the countries are already in the G20 or the Commonwealth, and we also have some new friends. It is important that we continue to respect that, because at times it feels as though we diminish what other countries do to take trade forward.

I did say that I was not planning to speak for an hour, much to the joy of people in this Chamber, I am sure. I fully endorse this treaty. It is good for our farmers and our country, because it means that we can reduce tariffs on a number of products, including those that can be onshored and put into our freeports, so that we can increase the value of our manufacturing. I wish this treaty well and, as I say, look forward to all the trade and prosperity that will come for the United Kingdom, but also for people around the world.

Photo of Richard Thomson Richard Thomson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Trade), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business) 6:07, 19 March 2024

May I take this opportunity to thank the Clerks for all the assistance that they have given throughout the scrutiny process, and to offer heartfelt thanks to the researchers who support my group for the help that they have given me throughout the passage of this Bill?

Those on the Treasury Bench will no doubt be delighted to hear that the SNP will not seek to divide the House on this Bill. We have never said that there could not be advantage from the CPTPP, but we could not be clearer that it offers a poor substitute for the trade deals that were left behind as a result of our leaving the European Union. Let us remind ourselves that, with the CPTPP, we have essentially swapped the four freedoms of the European single market—a market of half a billion consumers, right on our doorstep—for an agreement with a combined economy of almost half the size on the opposite side of the world, which takes only 8% of our exports. It seems to be a bit like putting an Elastoplast on an amputation.

The Government’s impact assessment, which I know is highly contested, even by the Government themselves, indicated that the long-term increase in trade will be worth £2 billion a year, or 0.06% of GDP. We are all aware of the parable of the hare and the tortoise, but I am not sure that many tortoises could live long enough to make up that ground. Whatever benefits do arise—at this point in time, they look distant and minimal at best—they will always and forever be less than we could have had in different circumstances.

Along with others, throughout the passage of the Bill, I have sought to warn the Government that they should find a way to quantify the impacts of CPTPP, and the risks right across a range of sectors that will be affected by it. We will remain vigilant, and will hold the Government to account, where the outcomes justify it. I suppose that I should not disturb the bonhomie that there has been, but one big question remains: will all those on the Front Bench be reunited to discuss any further trade deals before the Prime Minister has to call an election? I await the answer with bated breath.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.