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UK trade negotiations

Inquiry

This inquiry will be accepting submissions on an ongoing basis and will consider the progress of, and issues relating to, trade negotiations led by the Department for International Trade.  

Background

  1. The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 and is now able to negotiate its own Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). The terms of any agreement cannot come into effect until the end of the transition period. 
  2. The Department for International Trade (DIT) is responsible for negotiations with non-EU countries, and has stated its intention to negotiate FTAs with the US, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. The Department has also indicated that it may seek further trade partnerships, including with Canada, Singapore, and the Gulf Cooperation Council. 
  3. DIT launched online consultations on potential future trade agreements with the US, Australia, New Zealand, and on accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), on 20 July 2018. The consultations closed on 26 October 2018, and a summary of the responses to these consultations was published on 18 July 2019. 
  4. The UK currently benefits from the terms of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which entered into force in February 2019. DIT was unable to “roll over” this agreement, which would have enabled the UK to continue trading on the same preferential terms following the transition period. As such, it launched a consultation on a future FTA with Japan on 20 September 2019. The consultation closed on 4 November 2019.
  5. DIT published its Outline Approach and Scoping Assessment for a UK-US FTA on 2 March. It has stated its intention to publish similar documents for prospective agreements with Japan, Australia and New Zealand in due course.
  6. The UK will simultaneously be negotiating an FTA with the EU, with negotiations being led by the Cabinet Office. Formal negotiations began on 2 March 2020. The Government has indicated its intention to seek ‘Canada-style’ trade agreement with the EU to allow the UK to fully benefit from future trade agreements with non-EU countries.  

Submit written evidence

The Committee welcomes submissions on some, or all, of the following points, on an ongoing basis. Submissions should be made using the UK trade negotiations inquiry page.  

Terms of Reference

  • Does the Department for International Trade (DIT) have the right objectives in respect of each Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiation?  
  • What are the potential opportunities and risks of each proposed FTA? 
  • How robust is DIT’s approach to determining the potential impacts of its proposed FTAs?  
  • What consideration should DIT give to the sequencing of its proposed FTAs, particularly with respect to the simultaneous negotiations being undertaken with the EU by the Cabinet Office?
  • In respect of each negotiation, how effectively is the Government representing the interests of, and communicating with, devolved nations, local government, businesses, consumers and civil society groups? 
  • How effectively is the Government coordinating across Departments and stakeholders, particularly in relation to aspects of the negotiations with the EU that may affect other trade negotiations? 
  • Is Parliament able to effectively scrutinise ongoing negotiations?