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Call for Evidence

Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) Inquiry (re-opened)

House of Lords International Agreements Committee

 

The House of Lords International Agreements Committee (IAC), chaired by Lord Goldsmith QC, has re-opened its call for evidence into the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership.

 

The Committee’s scrutiny of these negotiations will consider a wide range of issues, and we expect this call for evidence to remain open during the course of the negotiations.

 

We are inviting new submissions, as well as written evidence from those who have previously made a submission if they wish to make additional points. Evidence received and accepted to-date is published on the Committee’s webpages.

 

When preparing your response, please bear in mind that short, concise responses are preferred, which must not be any longer than six sides of A4. Bullet points are acceptable. You do not need to address every question below. Equally, if there are any crucial issues not captured by the questions we pose, please highlight what they are and explain their salience.

 

The process for making submissions is set out in Annex 1, but if you have any questions or require any adjustments to enable you to respond, please contact the staff of the Committee at HLIntlAgreements@parliament.uk

 

Diversity comes in many forms, and hearing a range of different perspectives means that Committees are better informed and can more effectively scrutinise public policy and legislation. Committees can undertake their role most effectively when they hear from a wide range of individuals, sectors or groups in society affected by a particular policy or piece of legislation. We encourage anyone with experience or expertise in international trade to share their views with the committee, with the full knowledge that their views have value and are welcome.

  

Background

 

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is a trade agreement between 11 countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam). The Government has expressed its intention to pursue accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) as a key part of its trade negotiations programme.

 

The International Agreements Committee is responsible for scrutinising how the Government conducts international agreements, including trade treaties, and the final content of those agreements. This inquiry will focus on the Government’s aims and objectives, the progress of negotiations, and the possible impacts of a final deal for people and businesses across the UK. It is not yet known when the talks will conclude, but this inquiry will run for the duration of those talks.

 

Inquiry focus

 

The Committee is interested in submissions on any and all aspects of the CPTPP agreement, but the inquiry will focus at first on some key areas. The Committee is particularly seeking evidence on the impacts of a potential deal on the agriculture and food sectors, regulations and standards,  professional services, digital trade, investment, intellectual property, and on UK policy objectives to combat global climate change and promote sustainability.

 

Additionally, we are seeking evidence on the different impacts accession could have within the UK and how different areas, regions and nations might either benefit from the deal or miss out.

The Committee seeks evidence on the following areas of interest, which are phrased as questions for the ease of respondents. Submissions need not address all questions.

 

 Areas of interest

 

We welcome broad responses to general questions, as well as specific responses in relation to one or more of the key themes set out below.

 

General

 What are the potential benefits of joining the CPTPP that go beyond those of bilateral agreements with individual member countries of the CPTPP? Are there any disadvantages? What are the potential economic impacts on the UK? How do you evaluate the initial economic scoping assessment set out in the Government’s strategic approach?[1]

Is there any scope for the UK to renegotiate parts of the CPTPP agreement, or can it only seek derogations and exceptions? The UK Government has stated that joining the CPTPP now would allow the UK to “help shape its future development as [the CPTPP] grows”[2] - how can it do so in practical terms?

What is the relationship between bilateral trade agreements with individual CPTPP member countries and CPTPP accession? What engagement process should the UK undergo with CPTPP member countries during negotiations?

What are the costs and benefits of joining the CPTPP to the nations and regions of the UK? We would be especially interested in detailed economic analyses on this point. What are the devolved nations’ specific interests and how can they be best protected?

How would CPTPP accession benefit small and medium-sized businesses, and to what extent may the significant geographical distance between the UK and CPTPP member countries be an obstacle to realising those benefits?

What would be the impact of the US seeking to re-join the CPTPP? What provisions might it seek to reactivate or renegotiate, and under what circumstances might it be able to do so?

A number of countries are considering applying to join the CPTPP. What would be the impact of other countries joining?

Are there any relevant human rights concerns that the UK Government should have in mind when negotiating with some CPTPP member countries?

In what areas should the UK seek general exclusions and exceptions, particularly with regards to public services?

 

Goods trade

What are the offensive and defensive interests of the UK in trade in goods with CPTPP member countries?

How should the UK approach agricultural market access negotiations with CPTPP members? Which countries will be especially focused on gaining significantly greater agricultural market access to the UK?

What economic consequences might there be for UK farmers and the agriculture and food industries? We would be particularly interested in any detailed economic analyses on this

 

Rules of origin

 

How might the rules of origin in the CPTPP benefit UK manufacturers, considering that the UK’s supply chains are more closely intertwined with EU member states than CPTPP signatories?

 

Regulations and standards

Would accession to the CPTPP require any divergence from the regulatory standards that the UK and EU currently still share? What would be the implications of this?

For which goods or sectors should the UK be seeking increased regulatory cooperation with CPTPP countries, including through mutual recognition of conformity assessments and/or good manufacturing practices?

What scope is there for the UK to promote international standards through the CPTPP and how might it do that?

How can the UK ensure that its food standards and animal welfare standards are not undermined?

 

Climate change and sustainability

What are the implications of CPTPP for UK policy objectives on climate change and environmental protection?

Given that some members of the CPTPP are heavily reliant on coal-fired power and have high CO2 emissions, how can the UK ensure that its climate and environmental goals are not undermined?

What, if any, opportunities does CPTPP provide for enhancing trade in environmental goods and services?

Does CPTPP have adequate provisions to allow accession countries to maintain environmental protections?

 

Services trade

What are the offensive and defensive interests of the UK in trade in services?

What are the opportunities for the UK financial services and professional business services industries? In particular, what opportunities are there for the facilitation of movement of businesspeople between the UK and CPTPP member countries, and the mutual recognition of professional qualifications?

 

Digital trade

How should the UK balance the opportunities in digital trade with any concerns about data protection? Should the UK press to improve CPTPP data protection standards?

 

Investment

What opportunities are there with regards to increasing investment between the UK and CPTPP member countries?

How should the UK approach the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision in CPTPP? Should the UK seek exemption from ISDS by signing side letters with CPTPP member countries? Should the UK push for a multilateral investment court system, if there is scope to do so?

 

Intellectual property

What implications do the intellectual property provisions in the CPTPP agreement have for the UK? Should the UK seek an exclusion for the audio-visual sector?

 

ANNEX 1: GUIDANCE FOR SUBMISSIONS

 

Written submissions should be made online using the written submission form available by pressing the Start button below.

 

We expect this call for evidence to remain open throughout the course of the UK-CPTPP negotiations.

 

For any questions, please contact the Committee staff at HLIntlAgreements@parliament.uk or by telephoning 020 7219 4840.

 

Short submissions are preferred. A submission longer than six pages should include a one-page summary.

 

Paragraphs should be numbered. All submissions made through the written submission form will be acknowledged automatically by email.

 

Evidence that is accepted by the Committee may be published online at any stage; when it is so published it becomes subject to parliamentary copyright and is protected by parliamentary privilege. Submissions that have been previously published will not be accepted as evidence.

 

Once you have received acknowledgement that the evidence has been accepted you will receive a further email, and at this point you may publicise or publish your evidence yourself. In doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee, and you should be aware that your publication or re-publication of your evidence may not be protected by parliamentary privilege.

 

Personal contact details will be removed from evidence before publication but will be retained by the Committee Office and used for specific purposes relating to the Committee’s work, for instance to seek additional information.

 

Substantive communications to the Committee about the inquiry should be addressed through the clerk of the Committee, whether or not they are intended to constitute formal evidence to the Committee.

 

You can follow the progress of the inquiry at: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/448/international-agreements-committee/

 

[1]DIT, ‘UK approach to joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)’, p 28:  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/995485/cptpp-strategic-case-accessible-v1.1.pdf

[2] DIT, ‘UK approach to joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)’, p 4: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/995485/cptpp-strategic-case-accessible-v1.1.pdf

This call for written evidence has now closed.

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