Examination of Witnesses

Part of Trade Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:02 pm on 16th June 2020.

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George Riddell:

In terms of the service sector, I would say that the two biggest elements are definitely the continuity agreements and the government procurement agreement. The government procurement agreement, although it largely covers goods, has several services provisions in it that are particularly important for small and medium-sized enterprises that operate cross-border government procurement contracts.

On the continuity agreements, it is difficult to say exactly, because there is different coverage in each of the continuity agreements for different service sectors. Broadly speaking, you have the horizontal elements in the more advanced trade agreements, such as that with Korea, which covers investment and establishment for service providers, and additional mobility provisions for short-term business visitors and the suppliers of services.

There are also, in some of those agreements, additional commitments on the digital economy, and how the UK and the third country can co-operate in order to foster more digital trade, which is of growing importance, particularly in the light of the pandemic that we are experiencing. I know that many of the people here have dialled in or participated remotely in these sittings, so it is a very pertinent topic for the service sector.