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Trade Bill - Report (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 6th March 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Fairhead Baroness Fairhead The Minister of State, Department for International Trade 5:30 pm, 6th March 2019

My Lords, the engagement we have with civic society, businesses and trade unions will be critical as we develop our future trade agreements, and we will continue those discussions. We have already talked about creating a strategic trade advisory group, which will contain members from civic society, trade unions and business organisations. We have also agreed to have expert bodies, so I hope that will reassure the noble Lord that we are intent on continuing very active engagement.

The difference here is that these are continuity agreements that have already been negotiated and scrutinised through a process, and we are aiming for continuity here. Therefore, we believe that the appropriate level of scrutiny by Parliament is for the Government to bring forward the reports when they have been signed, alongside a detailed report on the changes, if any, and the economic impact. Of course, ratification will be required, and that will go through scrutiny in the normal way.

There is a very different position on future free trade agreements, on which I wholeheartedly take on board the points made by the noble Lord and the noble Baroness.