Trade Bill - Committee (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:00 pm on 30th January 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Kramer Baroness Kramer Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Treasury and Economy) 7:00 pm, 30th January 2019

The Minister has been tolerant. Perhaps I lack all the understanding I should have in this area, but my understanding is that, to be effectively a member of the WTO, it is necessary that the schedules are approved by all the existing members—the Minister can correct me if that is wrong. There can be temporary permissions when one is progressing along a path, but in effect any member country has a veto, and that does not have to have a reasoned basis. If any country felt that these new arrangements—the split of the tariff-free quotas, if you like, that was on offer to them—was not fair, it could not only argue that the arrangements were unfair but could simply say, “I don’t like this. Give me something better. And if you don’t give me something better, I’m not going to sign off on your schedule”. That means that we are then hampered in functioning, even on WTO rules. Can the Minister help me with that relationship?