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Amendment 59

Part of Trade Bill - Report (2nd Day) – in the House of Lords at 7:33 pm on 13th March 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Brown of Cambridge Baroness Brown of Cambridge Crossbench 7:33 pm, 13th March 2019

My Lords, Amendment 60 is in my name and those of my noble friend Lord Kinnoull and the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh of Pickering. I also support Amendment 59.

The UK needs a strong and independent Trade Remedies Authority with a balanced membership to investigate alleged dumping and subsidy cases and to recommend remedies. Schedule 4 to the Trade Bill defines the membership of the TRA and its governance. As I have said before, and as the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, emphasised in moving Amendment 59, while both Clause 10 and Schedule 4 make the independence of the TRA a clear objective, this does not sit entirely comfortably with the chair and the non-executives being appointed entirely at the discretion of the Secretary of State.

The governance model of the Office for Students in the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 seems to offer a good model for delivering both independence and balance, and this is the model that has been used in drafting this updated amendment. It would require the Secretary of State to have regard to the desirability of members having between them experience in a number of relevant areas, including UK manufacturing, trade unions, consumers, regional economic growth, regulatory systems and international trade disputes.

The Government have suggested that the TRA should be managed by trade remedies experts rather than by stakeholders with vested interests, in order to be independent. However, the chief executive designate has already told a Commons Select Committee that she is not a trade remedies expert. A properly balanced group of non-executive stakeholders, supported by expert executives, could be effective, independent and balanced. I look forward to hearing from the Minister how the Government will ensure the combination of independence and balanced and relevant expertise that this important body requires.