Amendment 7

Trade Bill - Third Reading – in the House of Lords at 4:45 pm on 20th March 2019.

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Moved by Lord Stevenson of Balmacara

7: Clause 11, leave out Clause 11 and insert the following new Clause—“UK participation in EU and EEA organisations(1) The Secretary of State must seek to negotiate an international trade agreement with the EU which will enable the United Kingdom to continue, after exit day, to co-operate closely with the bodies listed in subsection (2).(2) The bodies are— (a) the European Medicines Agency;(b) the European Chemicals Agency; (c) the European Aviation Safety Agency;(d) the European Maritime Safety Agency;(e) the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity;(f) the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas.”

Photo of Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Opposition Whip (Lords)

My Lords, I thank those who have supported me in bringing forward this amendment. Its history is that we debated it in Committee and again on Report, and have had a number of discussions on the issues it raised. The original concern was that in the other place an amendment was moved to the original Bill to insert the European Medicines Agency as a body with which the Government should seek to make arrangements in the event of a no-deal exit. The feeling was that that was rather too narrow in scope, and did not raise the wider issues about which other bodies might be appropriate for consideration. After discussion, we therefore came up with the proposal represented in Amendment 7. The second version of it on Report included a slightly longer list, but I have been persuaded that we should restrict the amendment to the list currently before your Lordships’ House. I would be grateful if it could be considered. I beg to move.

Photo of Baroness Fairhead Baroness Fairhead The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

My Lords, the Government are grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson of Balmacara, who has worked tirelessly and constructively to find common ground between what he is aiming to achieve with this amendment and a position the Government can support.

As I said on Report on this issue on 13 March, the Government recognise that a deep and special relationship with the EU is likely to involve close co-operation with certain EU agencies and bodies. The Government also recognise that a close partnership with an EU body or agency may help to reduce non-tariff barriers to trade. That is why we will carefully consider how to develop such partnerships within the breadth of our future relationship with the EU.

There are six bodies listed in this amendment: the European Medicines Agency, the European Chemicals Agency, the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Maritime Safety Agency and the two European networks of transmission system operators. The Government and the EU have already agreed, as expressed in the political declaration, to explore future co-operation with all of them.

The Government are working to find the best arrangement for the UK regarding other EU agencies and bodies. The decision to seek co-operation with an EU agency or body must be made only after careful consideration, bearing in mind the context of the UK’s overall aims for the future relationship and negotiations with the EU. The future of our relationship with EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, and EUIPO, the European Union Intellectual Property Office, will be shaped by forthcoming UK-EU negotiations.

As we negotiate our future relationship with the EU, the Government are determined to agree ambitious provisions to help businesses protect their intellectual property rights. Indeed, in the political declaration, the UK and the EU commit to establishing,

“a mechanism for cooperation and exchange of information on intellectual property issues of mutual interest”.

In this regard, the UK would seek an appropriate level of co-operation with the EU and relevant agencies, such as the EUIPO.

The UK has a long tradition of close collaboration with EFSA, which we greatly value and hope to continue in the future. We recognise the important work of EFSA in providing scientific advice and guidance, and believe it would be mutually beneficial for the EU and UK to continue to co-operate in the sharing of knowledge and information. A close relationship between EFSA and the UK would support the joint ambitions of the EU and the UK for food and feed safety. However, it would be unwise to stipulate in UK law exactly how we want to co-operate with the EU in these areas, given the implications it could have for the wider balance of rights and obligations we are seeking for the future.

The amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Stevenson, therefore reflects the position set out in the political declaration. His constructive approach to this issue exemplifies the positive tone of many of the debates and meetings we have had with a great number of your Lordships over the last few weeks. The Government are therefore content to support this amendment.

Photo of Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Opposition Whip (Lords)

I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her kind words and, more importantly, for accepting the amendment as drafted. I commend the amendment to the House.

Amendment 7 agreed.