Secretary of State questioned on next steps in Brexit process
6 February 2019
The International Trade Committee questions the Secretary of State, on the next steps in the Brexit process and his Department's progress in preparing for a range of scenarios after 29 March.
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- International Trade Select Committee
In his fifth appearance in front of the International Trade Committee, and with less than two months to go until Brexit occurs, Liam Fox will be questioned on a range of topics related to the UK's departure from the EU, and the future of UK trade such as the Brexit deal, the roll-over of EU Free Trade Agreements, and delays to the Trade Bill.
Wednesday 6 February, Wilson Room, Portcullis House
- Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, Secretary of State for International Trade
- John Alty, Director General, Trade Policy, Department for International Trade
- Catherine Vaughan, Director General and Chief Operating Officer, Department for International Trade
Committee members will seek Dr Fox's views on next steps following the votes in the House of Commons on the Withdrawal Agreement, and further on the Government's progress in rolling over the EU Free Trade Agreements to which the UK is currently party.
Despite stating that these agreements would all be ready for ‘one minute after midnight' on 29 March 2019, so far only agreements with Chile, Switzerland and the Faroe Islands have been announced.
The Committee will question Dr Fox on the slow progress of the Trade Bill, which is currently in Committee stage in the House of Lords – over a year after it was introduced in the Commons – and on the implications if the Bill does not pass in time.
The Committee will also consider other time critical elements of the post-Brexit trade regime, such as the establishment of the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA), which itself is reliant on the passage of the Trade Bill to be formally established.
The TRA will be an essential line of defence for UK businesses when the UK is outside of the EU, as it will advise the Secretary of State on appropriate trade remedies to impose in the case of unfair trading practices.
Last week the Committee travelled to the World Trade Organisation in Geneva and discussed UK trade with numerous foreign Ambassadors, including from Australia, Canada and Japan.
The information gathered during the visit, such as the UK's progress on accession to the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), will inform this session.