Trade Bill

Example Email Correspondence

Dear Giles Watling, 

Tomorrow the Trade Bill returns to the House of Commons. As your constituent I am asking you to vote to give MPs - and therefore constituents like me - a bigger say on trade deals that could affect all of us. 

Please vote for the following changes to the Trade Bill: 

  • NC12, NC14 and 75 (these are newly added Government amendments which would introduce scrutiny to the Bill, and which I'm asking you to support) 
  • NC6 and amendments 6, 7, 8 (amendments laid by Jonathan Djanogly MP, which also introduce scrutiny) 


My Reply

I absolutely understand the need for parliamentary scrutiny of trade agreements as we leave the European Union, which is why I welcome the Government’s continued commitment to a transparent and inclusive trade policy.

Let me reassure you that the Trade Bill only legislates to re-implement, into UK law following Brexit, those trade agreements that the UK is already signed up to through our membership of the EU. This will provide continuity in our country’s existing trade relationships, for both businesses and citizens, and these agreements will be based, as closely as possible, on the corresponding trade agreement that each partner country already has with the EU.

Furthermore, the Trade Bill only allows the UK to make regulations to implement obligations in any international trade agreements which our country already has with partner countries, provided that these countries have signed a corresponding agreement with the EU before our withdrawal. The powers in the Trade Bill cannot be used to implement new trade agreements with new partners that do not exist before exit day.

These existing agreements have already been through the relevant scrutiny processes in Parliament when they were implemented by the EU, including passing through both Houses’ scrutiny committees.

However, I welcome that the Government has been listening to concerns and tabled its own amendments to the Trade Bill to increase parliamentary scrutiny for these transitioned agreements. These will place a duty on the Secretary of State to lay before Parliament a report detailing the changes made to each of the transitioned agreements and highlighting what it is that has changed. In addition, each of these regulations will be subject to the affirmative resolution process to ensure greater transparency and scrutiny for Parliament – as a result, I was pleased to support these amendments, and the Trade Bill itself, which passed its Third Reading this week.

On the wider issue of parliamentary scrutiny of new trade agreements, the Government has made absolutely clear that Parliament and public (via a consultation) will have a vital role to play in shaping our future trade policy. The Secretary of State for International Trade made a Statement to the House on future scrutiny of trade agreements on Monday 16th July 2018m, which you can read here.