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Trade Agreements: USA

Department for International Trade written question – answered on 11th May 2020.

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Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade)

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of confidentiality for proposals by US negotiators in relation to a future UK-US trade deal for (a) 5 years and (b) until that trade deal is concluded; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade

We are committed to an open and transparent approach to trade negotiations and will report on the outcome of every negotiation round to ensure the public, Parliament and interest groups are informed of progress.

The exchange of letters between DIT and USTR setting out information sharing arrangements, including the confidentiality of information, is standard practice ahead of trade negotiations. Similar arrangements were published for the UK-US Trade and Investment Working Group in 2017. The arrangement we have reached does not supersede the government’s duty under the Freedom of Information Act, and is compatible with the Cabinet Office guidance on how the government should exchange classified or sensitive information internationally, with other government or organisations

The five year classification period for confidential information is also in line with both UK and US guidance.

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