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 Lord Grantchester Lord Grantchester Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 7:00 pm, 30th January 2019

My Lords, I thank the Minister for her answers and explanations. Once again, I am grateful to the Committee for allowing me to come forward with this probing amendment to understand better the processes and procedures that the Government are currently undertaking. They will be of great importance to large sections of our economy. They were put forward in the context of continuity—very much, as the noble Baroness said, of rolling forward existing trade flows. Hence, I was very happy to take questioning and probing from the noble Baronesses, Lady Byford and Lady McIntosh, on the amendment’s meaning. The answer is that I wanted to get the subject matter down for debate and to understand it better—and, indeed, to underline the difficulties of the word “improvement”, which the noble Baroness, Lady Byford, used for how we might want to change things and go forward. Obviously, improvement means different things to different stakeholders in the process.

I am very grateful to my noble friend Lord Whitty for explaining the background so comprehensively. What is really referred to is market access. Does improvement mean better market access, and for whom? How does this affect other stakeholders and the balance of interests between the countryside, the food chain and consumer interest and consumer prices? I was not really coming from the angle of an importer or an exporter, but I wanted to have the issue debated. The Minister has provided a lot of background interest and information that will certainly take a lot of reading and reflection.

Finally, the process outcome still seems far from clear. We will be talking about the apportionment that can result from it and how this may still give rise to anxieties and the balancing of those interests. Having made those remarks, I am very grateful to the noble Lords and noble Baronesses who have taken part in this little debate. I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment 34 withdrawn.