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Lords continues line by line check of Trade Bill

16 October 2020

EU and UK flags

The Trade Bill completed its committee stage, the first chance for line by line scrutiny, in the Lords on Thursday 15 October.

Members discussed the involvement of trade unions and other bodies in the Trade Remedies Authority and trade advisory groups, the disclosure of information and more.

Report stage, an opportunity to closely scrutinise elements of the bill and make changes, is yet to be scheduled.

Committee stage day five: Tuesday 13 October

Members discussed subjects in relation to future trade deals including the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Northern Ireland Protocol and continuation of North-South trade and invalidating agreements with states accused of committing genocide.

Committee stage day four: Thursday 8 October

Members discussed the role of the UK Parliament and the devolved administrations in trade deals and Free Trade Agreements. 

Commitee stage day three: Tuesday 6 October

Members discussed subjects including compensation claims by foreign investors, the UK's international labour law commitments and food safety and production standards.

Commitee stage day two: Thursday 1 October

Members considered a number of topics, including environmental obligations, UK's commitment to standards in food production and parliamentary approval of trade agreements.

Committee stage day one: Tuesday 29 September

Members discussed a range of topics, including environmental protections in procurement contracts, workers’ rights, intellectual property law and the UK’s international human rights commitments.

Second reading: Tuesday 8 September

Members discussed the key areas of the bill and raised concerns about protections for environmental obligations, animal welfare, food standards and the principle that the NHS is universal and free at the point of need. Members also pressed the government on Parliament’s opportunity to scrutinise future trade negotiations and the involvement of the devolved administrations.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel (Conservative), Minister for Investment, made his maiden speech in the Lords by opening the debate.

Over 70 members took part. Speakers included the first First Minister of Northern Ireland and the first UK Supreme Court Deputy President.

The Bishop of Blackburn made his maiden speech.

Trade Bill

This bill aims to:

  • ensure that the UK can implement procurement obligations in its own right and not as a member state of the EU
  • assist with the implementation of UK trade agreements with partner countries with which the EU has existing trade agreements
  • establish a new body, the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA), to deliver the new UK trade remedies framework
  • allow HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to collect information on behalf of the government to confirm the number of exporters of goods and services there are in the UK, and to enable the government to identify those exporters for trade promotion purposes
  • establish a data sharing gateway between HMRC and other public and private bodies.

Further information