COMMONS

Minister questioned on EU trade agreement and future trade policy

28 November 2018

The International Trade Committee questions the Minister on post-Brexit continuity of EU trade agreements, before turning its attention to the oversight and transparency of future trade agreements. Later in the day the Committee takes evidence  on how the European Parliament scrutinises EU trade deals.

As an EU member, the UK benefits from 40 trade agreements with 70 countries, as well as many other trade-related agreements. Under the proposed Brexit deal, the UK would be treated as if it were still a party to these agreements during a post-Brexit transition period from March 2019. To continue benefiting from these agreements after the transition – or from March 2019 in the event of “no deal” – the UK will need the countries concerned to agree to replicate them (referred to as “roll-over”).

The Government has previously stated that it is confident of replicating all the agreements when Brexit occurs in March 2019. The Committee will seek an update from the Minister, as well as the senior civil servant responsible for this policy area, in light of the possibility of “no deal” and a recent report of leaked information that just 14 agreements have been rolled over.

The Committee will then question the Minister on matters relating to its inquiry focused on future trade policy transparency and scrutiny. Since beginning its inquiry, the Committee has considered the extent to which key stakeholders and sub-national actors should contribute to, or be involved in the scrutiny of, UK trade strategy and negotiations.

So far, the Committee has taken evidence from witnesses representing civil society, business, the devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland, local government, and policy experts. Later in the day, the Committee will also consider what lessons can be learned from the processes in place at the EU level, in a session with a Member of the European Parliament Committee on International Trade, Jude Kirton-Darling MEP.

As part of its inquiry examining the impact of UK-EU arrangements on wider UK trade policy, the Committee has held evidence sessions with witnesses from the public and private sectors, including the current UK Ambassador to the World Trade Organization. The Committee has also previously held an inquiry looking at the continuing application of EU trade agreements after Brexit, and published a report on this in March.

Witnesses

Wednesday 28 November, Committee Room 6, Palace of Westminster

Impact of UK-EU arrangements on wider UK trade policy

At 10.00am

  • George Hollingbery MP, Minister of State for Trade Policy
  • Graham Zebedee, Director for Continuity, Wider Europe and Development, Department for International Trade

Trade policy transparency and scrutiny

At 11.00am

  • George Hollingbery MP, Minister of State for Trade Policy

Wednesday 28 November, Committee Room 16, Palace of Westminster

Trade policy transparency and scrutiny

At 4.10pm

  • Jude Kirton-Darling MEP, Member of the European Parliament for North East England

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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