Trade Bill - Committee (1st Day) (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 9:00 pm on 21st January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Lord Kerr of Kinlochard Crossbench 9:00 pm, 21st January 2019

Like the noble Baroness, Lady Young, I welcome the sentiment behind the amendments—in fact, I welcome their substance, but with one exception. I am uneasy about Amendment 25. I may have misunderstood it, but it seems to fall into a slightly different category—Amendment 15 is perhaps partly in that category, too.

I apologise for picking up one of the amendments in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, because she shames us all with her enthusiasm and hard work, but Amendment 25 seems slightly different because it would lay down a requirement on the Government to require something from the other participating Government in the agreement. Paragraph (b) requires that goods should,

“have been produced to standards that are comparable in effectiveness to those of the United Kingdom in protecting food safety, the environment and animal welfare”.

On the environment, India will be burning more coal next year than this year, and more the year after than next year. In China, coal will remain a very large of the power mix. Would the amendment debar the Government from doing trade agreements with India or China in respect of goods produced using power? It would seem quite a wide provision to require the Government to require something from the other Government. I may have misunderstood it. I also recognise that it would only enable the Government to do these things; it would not require them to do them, yet I am not sure that the distinction indicates a real difference. If it was on the statute book, the Government might feel obliged.

Amendment 15 raises the question of non-regression. As I read it, and I may be wrong about this, too, it would place an obligation on the Government to require that the agreement incorporated the principle and that the principle applied to both sides—not just to us but to the other side. I may have misread that, but, if so, my point about China and India perhaps applies to it, too.