Briefings TJM submission to the International Trade Committee inquiry into UK Trade Policy Transparency and Scrutiny

Briefings
READING TIME 15 minutes mins

TJM submission to the International Trade Committee inquiry into UK Trade Policy Transparency and Scrutiny

Modern trade agreements affect many aspects of public policy, including jobs, the environment, health, development and inequality. Given this, it is imperative that trade agreements are subject to the highest level of transparency, scrutiny and accountability.

However, the UK’s existing procedure for the negotiation and ratification of trade agreements gives the Government broad powers to negotiate trade agreements in secret and to ratify these agreements without a vote in Parliament.

The Government has introduced a Trade Bill into Parliament. However, the Bill does not address the limitations of existing legislation. Rather, it extends the government’s power over trade policy.

There is a clear democratic deficit in the UK’s approach to the development of trade policy. This must be addressed before leaving the EU, so that there is a modern and democratic framework in place to govern the re-negotiation of EU trade agreements and the negotiation of trade agreements with new trade partners.

To do this the Trade Bill must be amended to ensure there is a presumption of transparency in trade negotiations; civil society and the public have the right of input throughout these negotiations; and Parliament and devolved administrations have a meaningful role in the oversight, scrutiny and approval of trade agreements.


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Published June 2018 TJM

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