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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 Lord Purvis of Tweed Lord Purvis of Tweed Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (International Trade) 5:30 pm, 6th March 2019

My Lords, in Committee there were a number of amendments, including one in my name, which sought to make the case that some of the agreements that we are party to by virtue of our membership of the EU are significant for the economy as a whole and certain sectors of the economy. Some have a greater impact on some of the nations and regions of the UK and, therefore, to understand the impact of our trading policy it is necessary to have the report. So I welcome the Government’s position, as outlined by the Minister.

However, there are a couple of areas where I would wish to press for further information. One area relates to comments I made earlier about the status of the vast majority of the agreements to which we are party and have signed prior to exit day but which we are looking to replicate or agree after exit day. These will not necessarily be considered as continuity agreements—a point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Neville-Rolfe.

The agreement with Japan is a good example. It has been in force since 1 February and, given all the powers under this Bill, is a candidate to be considered as a continuity agreement. The Japanese Government have said that they do not wish it to be a continuity agreement but a new trade agreement. Under the Government’s amendment, how would that be reported on? It would not come under its remit. That is one of many examples.