Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [HL]

(Limited Text - Ministerial Extracts only)

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2nd reading
Tuesday 21st November 2023

(7 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Act 2024 Read Hansard Text Watch Debate

This text is a record of ministerial contributions to a debate held as part of the Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Act 2024 passage through Parliament.

In 1993, the House of Lords Pepper vs. Hart decision provided that statements made by Government Ministers may be taken as illustrative of legislative intent as to the interpretation of law.

This extract highlights statements made by Government Ministers along with contextual remarks by other members. The full debate can be read here

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Moved by
Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton Portrait Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton
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That the Bill be now read a second time.

Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton Portrait The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs (Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton) (Con) (Maiden Speech)
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My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Johnson of Lainston, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time.

It is truly an honour to stand at this Dispatch Box and make my maiden speech in this House. I have always respected the work that is done here, so often a patient, diligent and considered complement to the other place. I hope to play a full part in your Lordships’ House. Indeed, I was in the other place for only 15 years, 11 of which were as leader of the Opposition or Prime Minister, so I hope that I can look forward to many more years in this House. When I look at the ornate, carved wooden panels that surround us and compare them with my now infamous shepherd’s hut, I can tell your Lordships that this is already a significant upgrade.

I thank my introducers—the Lord Privy Seal, my noble friend Lord True, and the Government Chief Whip, my noble friend Lady Williams of Trafford. I have to admit that I recommended them both for the peerage. Indeed, I am in what Margaret Thatcher described in her maiden speech here as a

“delicate position … responsible as Prime Minister for proposing the elevation to this House”—[Official Report, 2/7/1992; col. 897.]

of quite so many of its current Members. I hope that noble Lords will forgive me for my part in putting—how can I put it?—space here at a premium. I note that the Liberal Democrat Benches are particularly full. I always said to my Deputy Prime Minister, partner and friend Nick Clegg that his party would feel the benefit of participating in the coalition for many years to come. I just did not predict exactly how that would manifest itself. I also thank Black Rod, the doorkeepers, the police and other staff for facilitating my introduction yesterday and for warmly welcoming me back to Parliament.

I first set foot in this place as a teenager in the 1980s, when I worked briefly as a parliamentary researcher. I watched from the Gallery as Lord Macmillan, aged 90 and leaning elegantly on a stick, delivered his maiden speech. It was a thoughtful, measured evisceration of the late Lady Thatcher’s Government and their handling of the miners’ strike. I intend no such censure for my successor in 10 Downing Street. Indeed, wanting to serve under Rishi Sunak, whom I believe is a strong and capable Prime Minister, was one of the reasons why I accepted his offer of this role.

I had two former party leaders in my Cabinet, alongside many veterans of Tory leadership campaigns, one of whom was the noble Lord, Lord Clarke, and I valued all their advice. I hope that some of my experience will help the Prime Minister in meeting the vital challenges that we face as a country. That said, it was a surprise to be asked. I have not been sitting like some latter-day de Gaulle at Colombey-les-Deux-Églises waiting to be asked—how shall I put it?—to take back control. Nor am I Cincinnatus, hovering over my plough. I leave all classical allusions—and illusions, for that matter—to another former Prime Minister with whom I shared a number of educational experiences.

There is a strong precedent for Members of this House from all parties serving in the Cabinet—Peter Carington, Alec Douglas-Home and, more recently, the noble Lords, Lord Mandelson, Lord Adonis and Lord Frost, and the noble Baroness, Lady Morgan of Cotes. Like all of them, I respect the primacy of the other place. As tradition dictates, a Secretary of State who sits in the Lords is mirrored by the most senior Minister in their department. That Minister is the right honourable Andrew Mitchell MP, who will deputise for me in the other place. I believe that he will do an excellent job.

I look forward to answering noble Lords’ Questions monthly and will appear before all the relevant committees. I recognise my responsibilities to this House and am happy to consider other appropriate mechanisms so that Parliament is able to scrutinise all the work of my department.

The noble Lord, Lord Mandelson, sent me a particularly charming welcome, but he pointed out that I am a comeback novice, as this is only my first compared with his three. I suppose my response should be to point out that to make three comebacks you need both his prodigious talent and to be sacked twice by the Prime Minister, which is a fate I hope to avoid.

I take my seat bearing the title of Chipping Norton. In fact, the first message I received after my appointment was from the vicar’s wife, making sure that I would take the town’s name, but I am not claiming divine intervention; it was an easy choice. This beautiful place is one of the west Oxfordshire towns I represented in Parliament. It is the place where I brought up my children and the place our family still considers home.

The Chippy Larder food project, where I volunteered for over two years after the start of the pandemic, will have to manage without me for a while. Last year, three of us loaded up a lorry full of food, clothes and supplies, and drove it to the Red Cross centre on the Polish-Ukrainian border. Our leader was Rizvana Poole who, Members will be pleased to hear in a House that values cross-party collaboration, is one of the town’s Labour councillors.

It was a privilege to make my first visit as Foreign Secretary to Ukraine last week. I told the President how much we all admire the bravery and fortitude of the Ukrainian people. We will stand with them for as long as it takes. I was proud to hear him describe Britain as their best partner in their struggle.

His country’s plight is a reminder of the great challenges we face. The things we take for granted— freedom, the rule of law, democracy—are under threat across the world. These are daunting times: invasion in Europe, war in the Middle East, climate change, growing world poverty, illegal migration, threats of terrorism and new pandemics. It has never been clearer that our domestic security depends upon global security.

We must approach these challenges from a position of strength. Our Foreign Office, Diplomatic Service, intelligence services, and aid and development capabilities are some of the finest assets of their kind anywhere in the world, and I have seen at first hand the professionalism, passion and patriotism of the people who staff them. I know that they have been expertly and diligently represented in this House for many years by my noble friend Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, with whom I am proud to work.

As Prime Minister, I learned that the respect we command overseas also depends on success at home. We certainly did not get everything right but, over six years, we smashed some of the big political orthodoxies. We showed that you can grow the economy and cut carbon emissions, cut the deficit and create jobs, achieve the best school results in the poorest areas and start to build a society that is multi-ethnic, multiracial, proud and patriotic. Today, with a British-Indian Prime Minister at our helm, we have a good opportunity to do all those things and ensure that we stand taller and stronger in the world.

I turn to the subject of today’s debate. The UK will join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, otherwise known as CPTPP. This Bill helps to make that happen. This is an age of rapid growth in the Indo-Pacific region, and the political shifts we face are the first reason to support this Bill. Countries in the Indo-Pacific are expected to drive the majority of global growth between now and 2050. I want to continue this Government’s work to deepen our relationships with this region and support shared security and prosperity.

We have signed the AUKUS pact with the US and Australia, and the Hiroshima accord with Japan. We have become a dialogue partner of ASEAN and agreed ground-breaking digital deals with Singapore. Membership of this vast global trade area is the next vital step on this journey, putting the UK at the heart of a group of some of the world’s most dynamic economies. It will bring us even closer on pressing challenges such as climate change, give us a new impetus to influence geopolitical competition around rules and norms, and help diversify our supply chains and therefore support our economic resilience.

The second reason for passing this Bill is the economic benefit this deal brings to the UK. Britain will join 11 countries spanning Asia and the Americas, with a combined population of 500 million people. We will have access to a combined GDP of nearly £12 trillion—15% of global GDP. This deal positions British companies to expand in new markets, giving us, for instance, our first trade deal with Malaysia—an economy worth almost £330 billion last year. It means more than 99% of the UK’s current exports to other members become eligible for tariff-free trade. The deal’s ambitious service provisions should also boost the £32 billion of services that British firms already sold to these countries last year.

UK businesses will be operating more on a par with local firms. Red tape can be cut and data localisation requirements removed. Traders will have more certainty, and it looks set to increase our attractiveness to global finance, even as competition for capital grows ever more intense.

Investors such as Japanese firm Fujitsu, an employer of more than 7,000 people here in Britain, see great promise from the deal. Free trade is good for British businesses, creating new opportunities and spurring innovation. I firmly believe that it benefits British consumers as well. Tariff reductions mean cheaper import prices, better choice and higher quality on a whole range of things, whether it is fruit juice from Peru or vacuum cleaners from Malaysia.

The final reason for deserving your Lordships’ support is the precise scope of the Bill. While the deal itself is wide-ranging, in many areas it does not require comprehensive UK legislation. The Bill therefore focuses on those few areas where we need primary legislation to meet our new obligations.

First, it covers technical barriers to trade. Conformity assessment bodies such as the British Standards Institution exist to assure consumers that a product meets certain standards. The Bill will allow for conformity assessment bodies established in other participating countries to apply for approval here in the UK, but I can assure noble Lords that these provisions will not change British product standards.

Next, on government procurement, the Bill will ensure that suppliers from participating countries have access on an equal footing to those UK procurements covered by the agreement. We have responded to the devolved Administrations’ previous concerns about the use of concurrent powers in such Bills by drafting these provisions in consultation with them. I believe that shows our commitment to working across all nations of the UK to forge a common approach.

Finally, on intellectual property, the Bill will align our approach to copyright with that of other members. For instance, it will expand the basis on which foreign performers can qualify for rights here in the UK. It will also align our approach to geographical indications and designations of origin, which I am happy to say is good news for things such as Lincolnshire sausages, Cheddar cheese and of course Scotch whisky.

In each of these specific areas, UK bodies and businesses will benefit from corresponding treatment in other participating countries. The Bill therefore reduces a whole series of complex obstacles to trade, including copyright, patent, standards and public procurement. These points are often underappreciated, but they will benefit UK businesses and consumers alike.

Noble Lords may well ask whether these benefits come at the expense of things we should hold dear. I believe that this is not the case, and I want to run through some of the concerns that have been expressed. Will it lower our own high standards on food and product safety, animal welfare, the environment or workers’ rights? No, we will change none of these in order to accede, and we will continue to set our own standards here in the UK. What about the issue of undercutting farmers? We have negotiated both quotas and transitional safeguards for agricultural imports. The National Farmers’ Union president, Minette Batters, has spoken of the deal’s potential, as she put it,

“to get more fantastic British food on plates overseas”.

There are often concerns expressed about the NHS and so-called privatisation by the back door. Let me be clear; the NHS and its services were never on the table in these negotiations. If you want to see the Government do more in this Pacific region to end unsustainable palm oil farming or to champion human rights, this agreement will increase UK influence in the region, which we can bring to bear on all of these vital issues.

Ultimately, we retain flexibility with this deal. We will continue to set our standards, determine our foreign policy and make the trade arrangements that best suit us with others in the future.

I look forward to hearing as much as possible of the forthcoming debate. I might have to be excused before it ends, should business continue into the evening, to welcome the President of South Korea at the state banquet hosted by His Majesty the King. The Opposition Front Bench has been very generous and understanding on this point, and I want to thank them. I also thank my noble friend Lord Johnson of Lainston, who has brought enormous private sector experience into the Government. He has led the work on this Bill and will respond to all your Lordships’ questions when closing.

This is a narrow Bill, but the benefits are considerable. With others queuing up to join the CPTPP, the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has ensured that the UK got in there first. The deal offers possibilities for our whole country, from distilleries in Dorset to AI pioneers in Wales, car part manufacturers in Northern Ireland and digital forensic experts in Scotland. It is an investment in a brighter future—and I should know, because I was the future once.

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Lord Frost Portrait Lord Frost (Con)
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My Lords, it is a pleasure to support the Government on this important Bill at Second Reading, and to congratulate my noble friend on his excellent maiden speech. I must say that I cannot claim quite the same experience of the noble Lord’s time as Prime Minister as others who have spoken so far today. I was, for part of the time, a humble bureaucrat in the system, working for Vince Cable on EU trade agreements—so we are none of us perfect—and then as head of the Scotch Whisky Association. I must say that, while I was doing that job, his Government either froze or cut the duty on Scotch whisky, to which he alluded in his speech—a policy which has since, regrettably, fallen into abeyance. Perhaps his return to government will herald a change in that policy as well. Who knows? I guess we are going to find out tomorrow.

In this context, I pay tribute also not just to my right honourable friend the current Secretary of State for Business and Trade, who got this agreement over the line, but to her three predecessors who kept the CPTPP on the agenda when it was not obvious that it would stay on it. I single out in particular my right honourable friend Dr Liam Fox, who kept the prospect of joining the CPTPP alive in a Government who, at times, seemed—how shall we put it?—unduly attached to remaining part of the EU customs union and other trading arrangements. Of course, if they had succeeded in that, it would have precluded CPTPP accession and we would not be having the discussion we are having today—so he deserves to be congratulated on that.

I will say just a word about the process that we are in. I think it is fair to say that I do not always agree with my former mentor, the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, who spoke earlier, but I do agree with the points he made about the process. It is a little strange that, after Brexit, the degree of scrutiny and the ability to comment, shape and, indeed, vote on major trade agreements that this Parliament has in both of its Houses is actually weaker than when this country was a member of the European Union. Obviously, I supported and worked for Brexit and I do not think it is right that we have less ability to shape these things than we did when we were in the EU. I have said that to Select Committees of this House and of the other place. We should look at that in the interests of democratic scrutiny and developing a trade policy that we can all buy into in the future. I hope that can be looked at one day.

We have heard a lot already about the economic benefits of accession to this trade agreement. I will not repeat what has been said already, but I want to highlight a couple of slightly more technical points. First, the rules of origin provisions in this agreement are generous—unusually so. They provide for full accumulation, as has been said. That is potentially of considerable value and will be of particular benefit to firms, perhaps especially SMEs, that seek to diversify and make secure their supply chains, away from China perhaps in particular, because many will need to do that in the coming years. Indeed, many are already doing it. Of course, as the CPTPP enlarges, that will become a more worthwhile provision—so, again, it is very good to see that we will be part of that.

I also want to highlight the value of the arrangements for conformity assessment bodies in Clause 2. I note in passing that the EU refused us these arrangements during the negotiation of the trade and co-operation agreement, so it is good to see that, at least in some of our trade agreements, we are part of them. It is the difference between being part of a trade agreement that is genuinely about facilitating trade and one that is about a power relationship between the two partners. So, once again, it is very good that we are part of that. Of course, it should go without saying—but I do not think it has been said yet—that we get all the benefits of the CPTPP without having to pay in £15 billion a year to the budget or make ourselves subject to a foreign court to get them.

So much for the economics; the key arguments for the CPTPP are more strategic than purely economic. I will briefly highlight three aspects. The first is diversification of our national trade policy. As we all know, increasing openness and competitive forces on our own economy is crucial to boosting productivity and growth, so it is not surprising, although a bit disappointing, to hear from some noble Lords a set of worries about precisely that openness to competitive forces, whether on ISDS, food, agriculture or on much else. The problem we have in this country is not too much competition but too little, and trade agreements are designed to boost that competition, boost efficiency and bring more growth.

Since leaving the EU, we have not pushed as far as we should in this direction. Indeed, our trade policy so far can be seen as in many ways a giant preference scheme in favour of the European Union. That is particularly true in agriculture, where EU goods enter without tariffs and quotas; no other trading partners have that at the moment, so it is vital that we open this up, and begin to open up our trading options globally. The CPTPP is part of this. It is a bit disappointing that in our accession protocol the transition to zero-tariff access for some agricultural products is a little slow, and even includes permanent quotas in one or two places. I understand the political logic that has led to that, because the NFU is a mighty power in the land, but this will defer some of the gains to our consumers. Again, it is something that we might look at one day in the future and take a more liberal approach.

The second strategic aspect of CPTPP is about embedding our engagement with east Asia, particularly with close allies such as Japan. The Indo-Pacific tilt is clearly more than just a tilt, and CPTPP goes with AUKUS and the ASEAN dialogue partner status as one of the three pillars of strategic engagement in the Asia-Pacific region. Indeed, let us hope that there will be a fourth pillar before too long, in the form of an FTA with India.

The third and final aspect is the signal that CPTPP membership gives about this country’s global trade policy aspirations and role. As the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, said, it is to be deplored that we are moving to a world of blocs, industrial policy and protectionism. Although there is room for a little more focus on national security in trade and investment, this development will generally see reduced incomes, reduced growth and probably further international tensions.

By its very existence, the CPTPP can and does already stand for something different. It is a different kind of grouping; it is a group of mid-size but extremely important powers that support open and global free trade. They are an open and free-trading counterweight to set against these broader undesirable global trends. It is absolutely natural for Britain to be part of that arrangement and to push for these things further within the CPTPP at a global level. Maybe in winding up, or later, the Minister could set out a little more what the aspirations to use the CPTPP are, and what ability it gives us to shape and broaden out our own trade policy, now and into the future.

Those who said the UK could never pursue an independent trade policy outside the EU have been proven wrong. With CPTPP accession, we have FTAs covering over 60% of our trade, goods and services, and the only reason we have not reached the 80% target is the reluctance of the US to do new trade agreements with anybody, not just us. This is a big success area, and getting into the CPTPP is a big part of it. That is why I am delighted to support the Government on the Bill and getting it through rapidly soon.

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Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait The Minister of State, Department for Business and Trade (Lord Johnson of Lainston) (Con)
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I thank the noble Lord for the segue into my closing address. It is an enormous pleasure to conclude this debate. Before I do so, I draw Members’ attention to my entries in the register of interests. I have investments in companies that operate in CPTPP member countries but, as often in these debates, I do not believe they represent a conflict given the nature of this Bill.

I would like to join the very long line of Peers who complimented the opening and maiden speech made by my noble friend the Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton. At one point I thought it was the popularity of my enthusiasm for free trade that encouraged so many people to sign up to speak in this debate. Only later did I realise that I had delegated the opening—as was heard earlier—to the newest Member of the House, of which I am extremely proud.

I reinforce my own message that to have my noble friend Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton on these Benches, and in this House, is an enormous testament to the importance of this Chamber. I think we all believe strongly that, as an individual, he is absolutely the right person to take forward our foreign policy agenda at such a perilous time in the state of the world, and such an important time for the United Kingdom. I am very proud to have sat next to him during this debate. I hope noble Lords realise that he took the debate extremely seriously, given the other pressures on him relating to the state visit from the President of Korea, dedicating himself to almost the entirety of the debate. I know he would want me to ensure that there was some element of recognition for the seriousness with which we take the important issue of the CPTPP.

I want to praise and pass thanks on to the IAC, which I believe to be one of the most important entities in this House, in ensuring that we reach strong conclusions as we prosecute our post-Brexit vision of Britain through our free trade agreements. The interlocution with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Goldsmith, has been particularly valuable for me over the past few weeks; I welcome him back to his usual place as chairman of the committee. It would be remiss of me not to pay homage to the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, who has been a powerful representative of independent-minded Peers in ensuring that the Government are held to strong account when it comes to talking about our trade ambitions. I am extremely grateful to her that she remains highly active in this area.

We have heard a number of extremely insightful points raised by many Peers. Listening to this debate, I am heartened by the seriousness with which we take this important subject and the key points that people wish to raise. I will try to respond to as many as possible. It is a very long list. It would have taken me the time that it has taken to discuss the Second Reading in this debate to fly to most of the countries in the CPTPP. But I believe that free trade genuinely gives us longer, happier and wealthier lives so, just through this debate on such an important subject, our lives have been extended and we have become personally richer.

I hope your Lordships know that I will inspect the Hansard account of the debate afterwards and, if I have not covered everyone’s comments, ensure that Members of House are written to specifically. As a number of Members have mentioned, there is a sensible and lengthy journey around this process, which, as I will come on to, will include proper scrutiny of the CPTPP treaty itself.

I will start by talking briefly about some of the benefits of the treaty, which can get lost in the details. I am particularly grateful to my noble friend Lord Vaizey of Didcot, whom many Members will know as a celebrity on the radio but whom I know as an important advocate of free trade. Some of the points that he raised on the specifics—which, as I said, often get lost in the detail—are extremely valuable: business mobility, the ability to trade, the ability to increase our exports and our imports, and, of particular interest to me as Investment Minister, the essential nature of bringing in more investment to the United Kingdom.

This country is not a member of CPTPP but, today alone, we announced in conjunction with the President of South Korea’s visit to this great nation over £20 billion of investment into the UK. This is the value of trade writ large in pounds sterling. Imagine what we can do with countries with which we have an even closer relationship, through a treaty such as this.

One point raised by a number of noble Lords—my noble friends Lord Lansley, Lord Howell and Lord Udny- Lister, and my noble friend Lord Lamont in particular—was the strategic importance of our membership of the CPTPP, which gives us this crucial presence in the Indo-Pacific region strategically, economically, philosophically, culturally and for reasons of alignment through defence. It is not simply a pounds, shillings and pence trade agreement but an essential component of how we as a nation wish to define ourselves when it comes to ensuring our security and wealth creation into the future. I was very glad that so many Members, even Members who rightly had issues to raise on the specificity of the CPTPP, were fundamentally behind the crucial mission of this trading nation that is the United Kingdom. Fundamentally, the positive comments from noble Lords across the House I find extremely heartening.

I want to bring to bear some of the comments that we have had from businesses and representative groups across the country. I will go on to touch on some of the consultations that we engaged in. I am very aware of the comments made by Members across this House on the importance of both promoting consultation as we go into the trade deal and promoting its benefits as we come out. We have consulted wide and extensively and the feedback that we have had has been overwhelmingly positive. Minette Batters said that

“the government continues to maintain its commitment to our food safety standards”—

something that I ask noble Lords to bear in mind as I touch on that subject later on. She added that the UK achieved a

“balanced outcome, particularly with respect to managing market access in our most vulnerable sectors”.

This is very important. I hope that all Members of the House will hear those points from the celebrated president of the NFU.

William Bain, a former Member of the other place and now at the British Chambers of Commerce, said that the agreement was

“good news for UK business”

and offered

“new prospects in a fast-growing region”.

The Federation of Small Businesses—which the noble Earl, Lord Effingham, was right to point out is an essential component of all our trade deals—has said that it was

“very pleased to see the UK officially join the CPTPP trade agreement”.

I turn now to some of the specific points raised. I will go through these relatively quickly, but I invite your Lordships to intervene if I miss a point; I am sure they will. As I said, there will be some instances where I will be obliged to write with further information.

On issues of technical barriers to trade, a number of noble Lords raised questions as well as support. I was particularly grateful to my noble friends Lord Udny-Lister, Lord Frost and Lady Lawlor. This is important as it will enable us to certify conformity assessment bodies in CPTPP countries so that they can perform the relevant checks, which will enable trade to flow more efficiently. I have looked into this personally in some depth and I do not see there being an issue. The noble Lord, Lord Grantchester, raised a point on this. These arrangements are reciprocal, which enables us to have our conformity assessment bodies assessed by CPTPP members. It is common practice.

I would like to stress that CABs established in CPTPP parties do not receive automatic approval in the UK; they have to be assessed. All this really does is to enable us to rightly ensure that CABs can be properly accredited by CABs in the UK. I really do not personally see any issue, other than something that is positive, around that.

We touched on government procurement and I am very comfortable discussing further any specifics. My noble friend Lord Lansley has raised some particularly pertinent points. I hope that I answered those in my letter to him, which I am sure has been lodged in the Library for everyone to read. If not, I would be delighted to circulate it to interested Peers. Ultimately, I agree that bringing in some of the procurement changes when we will introduce them under the Procurement Act, which comes into force next October, so that we can comply with our 17 July obligations under CPTPP, seems a bit unnecessary. It is not unnecessary but extremely necessary for us to comply; clearly, it is not a specific or seismic issue. As I said, unfortunately we are obliged to fulfil those requirements of our obligations.

On intellectual property, it is important that the CPTPP provisions commit parties to a minimum level of IP standards. This is not uncommon in plurilateral trade agreements, which often seek to set a baseline on which parties can build, and the UK’s accession to CPTPP will not limit our ability to seek more ambitious trade agreements with others, including those that are CPTPP members. We intend to be a constructive member and to champion our values and priorities, particularly through the committees and councils set up by the agreement.

A question was raised on generic medicines to the UK market. Just to reassure noble Lords across the House, there will be no delays in the entry of generic medicines to the UK market as a result of the UK joining CPTPP and no increase in the cost that the NHS pays for medicines. We have made no domestic changes to our rules regarding the marketing of generic medicines and are committed to ensuring patient access to medicines and affordable medicine prices for the NHS, while also supporting the UK’s world-class life sciences sector. Our future trade agreements will not change this.

I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Foster, asked a question around grace periods. The UK has signed up to the IP provisions in CPTPP, which is required of all members. We have agreed with the CPTPP parties that the UK will comply with Article 18.38 on grace periods only once the necessary amendments to the European Patent Convention and Strasbourg Patent Convention have been made, in line with Article 18.38 of the CPTPP, and not before. There is a process that we are going through on this point to ensure that all the necessary grace periods relating to IP provisions are aligned.

The noble Lord, Lord Razzall, raised some justifiable points around the principles of copyright, as did the noble Lord, Lord Holmes, who asked whether there are reciprocal rights for our artists in CPTPP countries. There absolutely are; I reassure him that this is the whole point of signing up to this trade agreement. It is a free trade area rather than a country-specific free trade zone, so the reciprocity of the membership is entitled fundamentally to all the members. I am extremely keen to promote that. However, there will be a change in the artists’ rights paid for performances broadcast over media in the UK—not over the internet—and we are applying this to all countries which sign up to these measures in the World Trade Organization. As the noble Lord, Lord Razzall, rightly raised, we are embarking on a consultation which will enable us to ensure that we set the right level of protection for our music industry and for our artists. But fundamentally, the idea of giving our artists half their royalties, as we do here for UK artists and broadcast artists of many other countries, strikes me as a very fair and equitable thing to do and very much part of the spirit of the agreement. However, the consultation will inform us appropriately whether we have that right and I look forward to it being reviewed.

I turn briefly to geographical indicators. The noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, raised this, as did a number of noble Lords. These provisions would allow the Secretary of State to cancel future geographical indicators, not current existing ones, if it is felt that they are confusing or not appropriate. It is important to note that as part of our withdrawal agreement with the EU, we cannot cancel geographical indicators so any relationship between those indicators and other CPTPP members will be direct, rather than through us. I hope the House will be reassured by that.

I turn to the important point of parliamentary scrutiny in the two minutes or so that I have left. I totally agree with the views of noble Lords: we must have a good debate on both the Bill, which contains relatively specific technical provisions, and the essence of the CPTPP, which is such a wonderful thing. I look forward to having these debates with noble Lords and it is not unusual for the CRaG process to run in parallel to the Bill since, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Goldsmith, will be aware, they are two completely different things in the essence of parliamentary activity.

I have made very clear to the noble Lords, Lord Kerr, Lord Trees, Lord Foster and Lord Grantchester, and to the noble Earl, Lord Sandwich, the importance of a strong, open and wide-ranging general debate on an FTA. That is right and I abide by the Grimstone principle—my formidable predecessor, whose immortality is secured by having a principle named after him; it is my own ambition to also work one into our future trade debates—to ensure that there is, as I say, a general debate. I think we have to go through a process when that is requested and I would be delighted to respond positively to that. I am also extremely available to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Goldsmith, and his committees, and to any noble Lord who wishes to spend time with me or the officials in my department to go through the intricacies of the Bill. We are waiting for the report from the Trade and Agriculture Commission, which I am told will come soon—certainly before the next part of this piece.

I will just cover a few brief final points because, quite rightly, the screen is flashing at me. The noble Lord, Lord McNicol, touched on devolution, the one area that had not been covered. I am pleased to say that we are not trying to run concurrent powers through the Bill but looking for legislative consent Motions. I have written to the Trade Ministers of Wales and Scotland and look forward to having strong interlocution with them, but the feedback that I have had from my officials so far has been extremely positive. I welcome that; there is no doubt that the benefits to Wales and Scotland from this deal are enormous. Scottish whisky alone is worth over £1 billion and the Malaysian opportunities, since we will see import tariffs cut from 80% down to zero, will be significant. That is just one commodity item.

If I may briefly touch on the agricultural side before I come to a conclusion, this is very important and clearly will be the subject of a great deal of the debate in the coming sections of this discussion. It is essential to understand one key point: that there is no derogation of our standards on account of signing up to the CPTPP. We have also introduced a number of clear tariff-rate quota mechanisms to ensure that we are protecting our industries from excessive levels of import. I reassure noble Lords in this instance that actual imports of beef, poultry, eggs and sheep meat from the non-Australia/New Zealand CPTPP countries are extremely low in terms of the pressures on our own agricultural sector. In fact, we have not imported an egg from Mexico, for example, since 2015. It is important to stress that sensational statistic, which I picked up this morning. I was very keen to get my knowledge of it into the debate. I should rephrase that: we have not imported a hard-shell egg in its entirety—we do import egg powder from Mexico, as noble Lords will know.

I turn to my final point before I come to a conclusion. In fact, there are two final points that I would like to cover briefly on China. It is very important in relation to China that we are clear, as are all CPTPP members, that decisions are taken by consensus. Applicant economies must be willing and able to meet the high standards of the agreement, demonstrate a pattern of complying with their existing trade commitments and be able to command consensus. Further to this, and importantly, we will join CPTPP first, so we will be on the inside, judging other applications, not vice versa. An entry into force of the accession protocol will permit us to be a party to the CPTPP, which is why it is so crucial that we ratify this agreement and become a party.

I have one last piece for noble Lords, if I may be indulged by the House, on investor-state dispute settlements. I was extremely grateful to my noble friends Lord Livingston and Lord Lansley for the vocal support for these principles. From my historic experience, running investments in many of these countries, the investor-state dispute mechanisms are very important for allowing British businesses to invest safely and build in these economies. We feel, from the UK side, very protected by the fact that we run and operate a strong degree of rule of law and, as a result of which, we are protected by our own systems. I would not be keen to see us derogate our responsibilities and links to investor-state dispute settlements, because they are important—and, in this instance, they will represent strong protections for our companies operating in CPTPP, resulting in more investment both ways.

To conclude, this Bill represents the continuation of our policy of expanding our horizons to the four corners of the world, being party to the crucial liberalisation of trade which has played such an important part in the economic well-being of our citizens and is an essential component of our strategy to truly immerse ourselves among the faster growing economies of the Asia-Pacific regions. As William Seward said in 1852—and this is my favourite quote—

“the Pacific Ocean, its shores, its islands and the vast regions beyond will become the chief theatre of events in the world’s great hereafter”.

He was correct, and I celebrate this new opportunity afforded us by our fellow nations in the CPTPP to join them in this new stage of development. We should be grateful to them, particularly to countries such as Japan, which led such an important campaign to encourage us to accede—but all the countries of the CPTPP. The Secretary of State for Business and Trade has stated:

“As CPTPP’s first ever new member, and the only European member, we are linking the UK to some of the world’s most dynamic economies, giving British businesses first-mover advantage in some of the fastest-growing markets in the world, and supporting jobs and economic growth right across the country”.


I would also like to thank the former Secretary of State, Dr Liam Fox, who started these negotiations, Elizabeth Truss, the previous Secretary of State, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Kemi Badenoch, the current Secretary of State, and all the civil servants and officials who have been so hard working in this process. This is an issue that transcends party politics: it is intrinsic to our way of life and our prosperity, not just here in the UK, but across the world. I commend the Bill to the House.

Bill read a second time.
Moved by
Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston
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That the Bill be committed to a Grand Committee, and that it be an instruction to the Grand Committee that they consider the bill in the following order:

Clauses 1 to 3, The Schedule, Clauses 4 to 8, Title.

Motion agreed.

Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [HL]

(Limited Text - Ministerial Extracts only)

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This text is a record of ministerial contributions to a debate held as part of the Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Act 2024 passage through Parliament.

In 1993, the House of Lords Pepper vs. Hart decision provided that statements made by Government Ministers may be taken as illustrative of legislative intent as to the interpretation of law.

This extract highlights statements made by Government Ministers along with contextual remarks by other members. The full debate can be read here

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Portrait Lord McNicol of West Kilbride (Lab)
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My Lords, I thank the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, and the noble Lord, Lord Foster of Bath, for speaking to their amendments. I will touch on my amendment in this group. The detail the noble Lord has gone into raises a number of questions, and the detailed answers he seeks will cover all the amendments in this group.

My amendment is very straightforward; we have further groups later on seeking reviews of the negotiation. I understand the point made by the noble Viscount, Lord Trenchard, about this being within one year, but we are in a very new situation with the CPTPP. Learning lessons quickly, both positive and negative ones, is crucial to our making correct decisions in future on FTAs and other negotiations.

Amendment 24 seeks a review within one year of the day on which the Act is passed. The Secretary of State must publish both

“a review of the lessons learned from the negotiation of the CPTPP Chapter on intellectual property”—

as we have heard, there are still a large number of questions outstanding there—

“and … an assessment of how this experience might inform negotiations of future free trade agreements”.

It is very straightforward.

Like others who have spoken before me, I have had a number of representations from UK Music and the Alliance for Intellectual Property. I seek clarification from the Minister of one of the points made by UK Music. There is a concern that the CPTPP parties are allowed to opt out of some of the IP provisions—for example, not recognising protection for the use of recorded music in broadcasting and public performance, which was one of the issues touched on earlier. The AfIP’s point was that

“the rush to join CPTPP may result in the embrace of IP”—

intellectual property—

“standards that are significantly weaker than those present in UK law”,

and thus cause growth issues.

I turn to geographical indicators, which may well come up in some of the later amendments and was touched on during our first day in Committee. There is a specific issue concerning the UK-Japan deal, which was rolled over. Geographical indication brand protection was promised in the UK-Japan agreement but was never delivered on. When the agreement was announced in October 2020, the then Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, promised that 77 specialist UK food and drink products would be guaranteed protected geographical indication status, alongside the seven that were then carried over from the previous EU-Japan trade deal. The former Department for International Trade said that the protections would be in place by May 2021 for all 77 new products. I will not list them all, although I am more than happy to. They included some iconic brands: Scottish beef, the Cornish pasty, Welsh lamb and Wensleydale cheese, to name but a few.

The DIT also boasted that, thanks to Liz Truss’s agreement, the UK would benefit from a fast-track process for securing brand protection that would not have been possible under the EU-Japan deal. It said that:

“The EU must negotiate each new GI individually on a case-by-case basis.”


The EU has added an extra 84 products to the protected list since October 2020, including 28 fairly recently, and the number of EU GIs with Japan now stands at 291, while the UK is still stuck with only seven protected products, which we inherited from the EU-Japan deal. Given this, can UK producers of geographically identified products be confident in the measures in the CPTPP, and is there any danger of the same occurring now with British food and drink products, putting them more at risk? Finally, will the Government revisit the UK-Japan agreement and deliver on those originally promised protections?

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait The Minister of State, Department for Business and Trade (Lord Johnson of Lainston) (Con)
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I thank noble Lords for returning to this important discussion of the various ways in which they are looking to improve our CPTPP Bill. I hope I can give them some good answers, illustrating my belief that we have a very good deal, the integrity of which we should try to retain as much as possible.

I think the noble Lord, Lord Foster, who is an expert on many things, said that he had yet to come across an expert who could clearly explain artists’ and performers’ broadcast rights. I am well aware of this, as are noble Lords. I will try to do so today but, given that no one has so far managed to do so convincingly, I hope noble Lords will allow me to write giving further clarification and useful examples and anecdotes. It is certainly a complex point.

The CPTPP brings to bear on the United Kingdom an additional series of obligations regarding performers’ rights. Currently, if you are a performer of, let us say, British nationality, and/or your performance is in the United Kingdom, you are entitled to the performance rights. The CPTPP looks at performances and rights in a slightly different fashion. In the instance of a performance taking place in a non-CPTPP country—which is where the controversy of this issue has arisen—it could qualify for artists’ performance rights payments if it was released or produced in a CPTPP country or if there was another necessary association with a CPTPP country.

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Lord Foster of Bath Portrait Lord Foster of Bath (LD)
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I entirely take the point the Minister is making about the timescale for an impact assessment. Yet before we have even had the consultation on performers’ rights, the Minister is claiming that the impact will be minimal. I have not yet heard from him the justification for that claim. Also, while I am on my feet and to save interrupting him a second time, can he be absolutely clear that the details of the consultation on performers’ rights to which he referred will be available prior to your Lordships debating the Bill on Report? If we do not have those details and a clearer understanding of what is in the consultation and the implications of the Bill, we are put at a huge disadvantage.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I am grateful to the noble Lord for pointing out that I am already talking about the impact, while also saying that we should not have an impact statement after one year; however, I do not think that that is fair. We are trying to have a broad gauge—is this a significant, multi-million-pound issue that needs to be confronted with urgency, or a relatively manageable amount of capital change? The instance we are looking at is not significant in relation to the music industry overall—it was a few tens of millions. I do not have the figure in front of me, but the noble Lord will understand.

That is the reason why we are having a consultation. Our estimate implies that it would not result in significant distortions of the music market in this country. Remember, this is for broadcast media. It does not include streaming, which is how most people access their music at the moment. It will result in additional artists being included, but many artists already are.

We should be aware that we often talk in these debates about the issues facing us—it is always about us. I would like us to look at the opportunities our artists will now have in terms of being protected. British music is the greatest in the world, and among the most popular. The Beatles are at No. 1 again; that must mean something. All the great bands are reforming to take advantage of these new benefits of CPTPP and the enormous revenues they will be paid, so something must be working. We should not lose sight of that. I think that my noble friend Lord Cameron of Chipping Norton told me that Blur are getting back together again. He will know more about it than me.

This is a very important issue. We must not lose sight of the fact that on the whole, these measures tend to result in additional protections which did not exist for our artists in many of these countries. That is very important. We can get lost in the detail. I am not saying that the detail is not important, but we should keep things in perspective. I cannot answer the question from the noble Lord, Lord Foster, about when the consultation will be completed. It is unlikely that we will have the consultation back by Report, which is hoped to be the second or third week of January. I am aware of the time constraints and recognise noble Lords’ comments, but we will continue to work together to find a good solution. I am extremely comfortable having further conversations with the noble Lord and other interested Peers on how we can delve more deeply into this subject. I am very sensitive to the fact that we are trying to come to the right conclusion.

Turning to some of the other key points, the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, made a very fair comment on artists’ resale rights. We have tried to propagate this position. It is a new concept globally and so far, 90 countries have taken up the opportunity to employ artists’ resale rights. Unfortunately, very few CPTPP countries deploy ARR in their legislation. The noble Lord was right to mention Mexico, and Peru is similarly beginning the process. However, it is at an early stage and has not functioned in a way that is advantageous to our artists, so while the systems have been set up, they have not started to yield the payments we were hoping for. Therefore, we are not in a position to introduce ARR into the CPTTP, because many of the countries simply do not have that legislation to hand. It would therefore not be appropriate for what is a collective multilateral treaty that we are joining.

The noble Lord rightly asks about our strategy. I am happy to come back to him on our plans for continuing engagement, but he should be reassured that we specifically negotiated this in the Australia and New Zealand free trade deals and that we are in negotiations with Japan to see how we can implement that.

The noble Lord, Lord McNicol, asked about Japan and geographical indications. I cannot make a significant comment in reply, other than to point to our commitment to continue negotiations on this. It was a very important part of the initial negotiations and the Secretary of State at the time was determined to ensure that these principles were magnified. I, my officials and the trade team will be happy to reassure the noble Lord, I hope, that we are moving forward.

I hope I have covered the questions raised. My noble friend Lord Trenchard kindly supported me with his point about impact assessments and timeliness, for which I am grateful. He also raised specific questions which I will answer in writing.

Earl of Clancarty Portrait The Earl of Clancarty (CB)
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My Lords, I thank the Minister for his reply on my amendment, which I found reasonably reassuring. As far as I can see, the Government are moving in the right direction on this. Time will tell by how much and with what enthusiasm they can persuade other countries to reach reciprocal agreement with us on this important right. I detected a suggestion for a possible meeting about this with interested parties; that would be really helpful.

On the other hand, I think many of us are much less convinced on the other concerns, particularly those about performance rights raised by the noble Lord, Lord Foster. He asked whether we could have the consultation before Report. It is really important that the consultation precedes any secondary legislation. The Minister has said that that legislation is technical, but the experts, including the Alliance for Intellectual Property and people in the music industry, say that we cannot be so sure what the effect will be of widening rights to foreign rights holders. We are asking the Government to tread carefully, and not recklessly in a way that will damage the UK’s creative industries. The principle of reciprocity is paramount, as the noble Lord, Lord Foster, pointed out. It should be a guiding light. Crucially, stakeholders need to see precisely what is intended to be in the secondary legislation before it is made. As we know, once secondary legislation comes before the House, it is too late to change anything. With that, I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

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The noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, and the noble Lord, Lord Purvis of Tweed, asked for a full debate in the Commons. It would be great to see that in both Chambers, as we heard at Second Reading, in order to look at this issue. With that, I look forward to the Minister’s response.
Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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My Lords, I thank noble Lords for their input on this group of amendments; I will try to cover them in thematic order. As always, we are looking to have a good debate here and reach sensible conclusions, so I would be delighted to follow up with any noble Lord who wishes to do so. Actually, I think it would be helpful if, in the new year, we celebrated 2024 by noble Lords making sure that their first meeting is with me to cover specific areas of the CPTPP.

We can refer to the CPTPP as the FTA, if noble Lords wish to. I like “CPTPP” because, of course, it is relevant—especially in terms of all the aspects being covered today, such as the importance of ensuring that the effects of the trade agreement align with our commercial interests and our values. As noble Lords will remember, it was originally called the TPP—the Trans-Pacific Partnership—but Canada added the concept of it being both comprehensive and progressive. Noble Lords should be delighted that I am facing that now, because it is precisely what they are discussing; they should be reassured that the principles of comprehensiveness and progressiveness are very much embedded in the title itself.

I am glad that my view of a two-year minimum window for an impact assessment has now been broadly accepted. I have always wanted something to be named after me, rather like the “Grimstone principle”. Can this be called the “Johnson term”? I am not quite sure whether we are allowed to do that. Just because the impact assessment amendment line has two years in it does not necessarily mean that we would accept it—but I will briefly cover the crucial first point, which is about the principle of understanding the impact of these free trade agreements.

In our last debate on a trade treaty, many noble Lords looked at it in some detail and some Dispatch Box commitments were made. I do not have them in front of me, but I would be happy to come back to noble Lords on them at the next stage. I want to be clear about which areas the Government would look to review. There is some reluctance for there to be a codified, formalised, legislated-for, mandatory impact assessment because, as we have discussed in the past, these can be unadaptable and may not necessarily fulfil the requirement that this Committee is looking for, which is a true impact study in the key areas. Also, things will change, of course. So it is better that there is a flexible approach to this, where we get the right information.

From the point of view of this Government, who believe passionately in free trade and the benefits of this agreement, an impact assessment is something that we want to do in order to show the country the power of these free trade agreements and what they will result in. We will certainly look at the trade in goods and services, investment flows, the effects on the nations and regions of the UK, the effects on consumers and the effects on businesses. We will certainly establish the effects on border activity and, importantly, we will look at the effects on agriculture and the environment. I can say that those will not be areas to which the impact review will be limited; as I said, I would be comfortable to have further discussions around this.

Like other noble Lords, my noble friend Lord Holmes of Richmond rightly referred to the opportunities of the CPTPP. I am not going to grandstand and dwell on the opportunities just for the sake of it, because this is an important debate that covers some of the risk mitigation around these free trade agreements and I am comfortable making those points the focus of parliamentary scrutiny, as they should be. However, it is also worth looking more positively at the opportunities that we have, how we manage our relationships going forward with CPTPP countries, the value we think we can add as a result of that and where we can make further gains.

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Baroness Willis of Summertown Portrait Baroness Willis of Summertown (CB)
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The point I was making, which I think is being followed up, is that there is a two-tier system. Right now, the Bill as constructed does not acknowledge that two-tier system. The problem lies in that two-tier system and the fact that all of these things that will be coming through with the pesticides on them will go through the risk assessment because they are not on the annexes, which they would be if they went into the first tier. It is those annexes that need to be looked at. I do not think that anyone is doing scare tactics, but I think there is a very big risk here that, as we get huge amounts of wheat coming in from Australia, there may well be pesticides on that wheat that we as consumers do not want to eat. I am not sure right now how the present system will address that.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I am grateful to the noble Baroness for raising those points, and I am happy to provide further reassurance in terms of how we control our borders. We already import products from Australia and have done for many years; the Australia-New Zealand FTA does not make any difference to that. In fact, I can turn now to the protections we have for our agriculture sector. I follow on from comments I made in the Australia-New Zealand trade treaty debates that protecting our farming community is absolutely paramount for us. We are very sensitive to the effects that global trade flows can have on industries and communities, and it is completely right that we do what we can to ensure that we take a very gradual and phased approach to the changes of our quotas.

However, I would say that for the CPTPP, the impacts on agriculture are significantly less significant—I am sorry to have not presented a particularly clear sentence in that instance—than they are for the Australia-New Zealand trade deal, in the sense of the areas where we have increased the tariff rate quotas, in particular areas such as whole shell eggs, pork and other products, which are not at significant import volumes from countries such as Mexico, Vietnam and so on. We have phased in our tariff rate quota allowances over 10 years; we have taken a very measured approach.

I spoke recently to the president of the National Farmers’ Union, and she was very pleased. I asked whether I was able to repeat her sentiments, and she said I was. She felt very comfortable and pleased with the way we have negotiated tariff rate quotas at the levels we have ended up with. I will defer to my colleague, if she wishes to make an intervention.

Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Portrait Baroness McIntosh of Pickering (Con)
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I am sorry to intervene. I do not have the Trade and Agriculture Commission report in front of me, but I think there may be a difference between food safety and food production standards. Will my noble friend take the opportunity to look at the ADAS conclusions and the conclusions of the Food Standards Agency on food production standards just to be absolutely sure before we proceed to the next stage?

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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Yes, I will reply on that point. As I said, there will be differences in food production standards, production capabilities and so on because we are looking at having trade agreements with countries in different parts of the world which have different weather patterns. In many respects, the whole principle is to complement our production. We are talking here about ensuring that the safety of the British consumer is not jeopardised through FTAs, and I am comfortable expressing that very important point.

My final point is on deforestation and other standards and relates to production standards rather than simply importing goods, particularly agricultural goods. As noble Lords will know, as a result of the Environment Act, we are bringing in further protections such that companies above a certain level are obliged to ensure that their supply chain is compatible with the legal framework. I understand that that will include illegally occupied territories that have been deforested.

I am afraid that I do not have an update on the timing of that legislation. As I believe my noble friend Lord Benyon said recently, it will be taken through when parliamentary time allows. I know from my conversations with my noble friend that this is an area of great interest for him. That was not a light-hearted comment meant to play for time. Noble Lords understand that we have a parliamentary calendar and have to make sure that this is done appropriately. I cannot comment on that, but I can say that the Government are committed to ensuring that these things run in sequence as closely as possible. As I said, we are already doing business with many of these countries and, in my view, a delay of a relatively short or reasonable period would not make a significant difference to the timing. They do not have to run concurrently, as they are not linked together.

I hope I have covered all the points. I am very comfortable coming back to noble Lords—I see I have not so I shall take some interventions.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
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I just press the Minister for some reaction to the fact that his department’s impact assessment shows a deleterious effect on our financial services sector. What is the department’s approach to those figures in its report?

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Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I thank the noble Lord for those comments. I can say firmly that our commitment to those conventions is firm and absolute. It is essential to us that we do not derogate our commitments to the supply chain. As the Committee is aware, a number of new policy frameworks have been put in place to ensure that the supply chain has the responsibility to ensure that it does not include poor practices. They are now in force, and I would be delighted to work with the noble Lord to reassure him that the CPTPP does not lead to a derogation of standards. In fact, we think that participation in this group will allow us even more influence to align other countries in the CPTPP with our labour standards. I am quite confident of that.

I will touch on one or two other points that were raised. The noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, rightly raised the importance of high standards in the UK in reference to the Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill, which is currently going through the other place. I wholeheartedly agree with her that it is important that the UK retains its world-leading position as a country that respects the rule of law and property rights. I am sure that that Bill will do these things. I believe that a consultation is under way at the moment that will inform that debate, but I am not able to comment further on that.

The last point was about the impact assessment. If I remember rightly, it showed that there will be a growth in financial services exports and a more significant growth in financial services imports—if I have that right. The noble Lord, Lord Davies, must forgive me: I do not have his chart in front of me but I would be delighted to follow up on that. The impact assessment is a static one. It is not for me to criticise it because it says that there are several billion pounds-worth of additional trading opportunities that we can see immediately from CPTPP, which is to be celebrated. That is combined with the free trade agreement with Malaysia.

Is it worth our time today debating a multi-billion-pound benefit set out in a government impact assessment document? It absolutely is, but it is our convinced belief that not only will we have significantly more trade as a result of the CPTPP but it will give us the opportunity to do all the things that noble Lords opposite have been so particularly focused on: influencing the debates around labour standards, use of pesticides and how the environment functions, and how farmers can compete globally. Let us rejoice in the opportunities that it presents to our businesses.

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Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I am grateful to the noble Lord for raising that point and I ask his forgiveness if I have failed to cover it. It is very important. I did look at his maths: the price of a banana, if it goes up 180%, goes to £1.70, not £90—I just point that out, if I may. Aside from that, it is very important to say that our developing nation commitments are not derogated by joining the CPTPP.

We are very aware of the importance of the prospect of preference erosion and it is quite right for the noble Lord to raise it. I am very comfortable writing to him in more detail about this, but we are very clear that our developing country trading programme is an important priority for this Government’s trade policy. We will ensure that any new trade agreements, including this one, are compatible with that policy agenda. I am very happy to write in more detail and have further discussions. If there is further detail where he believes that this is not the case, I again give my sincere apologies for that.

Lord Purvis of Tweed Portrait Lord Purvis of Tweed (LD)
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I am grateful to the Minister for writing, and I look forward to it. I am sure that would agree that cumulative inflation of 180% since 1987 would mean that £1 then is £180 now.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I will not get drawn into the debate on that, but I think that would be 1,800%, rather than 180%. However, the point is that the noble Lord is right to raise the matter of the estimated expected costs compared with the actual costs today, and the deflationary impact of global trade on some of our developing nation partners and the importance of ensuring that it can be mitigated in some way, regardless of the other trade deals that we are pursuing. I am grateful for his point.

Lord Holmes of Richmond Portrait Lord Holmes of Richmond (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, this has been an excellent debate. I thank all noble Lords who participated and the Minister for his response. I was pleased that financial services and environmental concerns were grouped together, because that is, in many ways, the fundamental point that is often missed. There is no purpose in talking about financial services and finance without ESG being gold-threaded through it all. I can sum up today’s debate, in many ways, as: what purpose profit if no planet to spend it on? I again thank all noble Lords who took part and, with that, I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

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Lord Purvis of Tweed Portrait Lord Purvis of Tweed (LD)
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My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Baroness, and I agree with what she said. I start by apologising to the Minister. My maths in my intervention on him were wrong. I admit that and want it on the record—that prevents him mentioning it in the letter he will write to me, which I look forward to.

I support the noble Lord’s amendment, and the context of what he said is very important. Together with the latter part of the contribution of the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, it means that we must have a wider public debate about UK-China trade in particular. I acknowledge that China’s accession is a very large “if”, and I will come back in a moment to the many reasons why, but that would have an even greater impact on UK trade, because China already has five bilateral FTAs with CPTPP members: Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Peru. It is also part of the two plurilateral frameworks which the noble Lord mentioned. We are already, in acceding to the CPTPP, entering into trading relations through FTAs with China.

This is even more important because, in 2019, according to the University of Sussex UK Trade Policy Observatory—I shall source my figures on this now—approximately 20% of Chinese exports were already going to CPTPP members, of which 50% were in intermediate products. What does that mean? It means that it is linked with what we debated on the first day of Committee: that when it comes to rules of origin, many aspects of UK trade will be involved with goods from China. That is notwithstanding the enormous trade deficit that we have in imports in our trade with China already. The Office for National Statistics report stated that, in 2021, China was the UK’s largest import partner. That is not to the extent of 25%, but 13.3% of all goods to the UK are imported from China. What gives me concern is that we have a £40 billion trade deficit in goods with China. When we look at certain key sectors, this becomes a strategic issue, not just a trading issue or one of the importation of goods. Our trade deficit with China in goods is larger than our overall trade with Italy, Switzerland or Norway, so this is of great significance. When we consider that Germany has a trade surplus in goods with China, it is a valid issue to debate.

The increase in Chinese exports to CPTPP countries has grown very significantly, including in services, which on average has grown by 11% a year. When we have been debating UK trade, moving away from the single market into the fastest growing part of trade within Asia, we know that we have a combination: we are heavily dependent on imports from China, and growth in Asian trade has been as a result of their relationship with China too.

On that basis, if we look at the position of China, what does the UK do? We know that we are heavily reliant on it, that the Government say our future is in this area, and that those countries are heavily reliant on China. The growth trajectory is based on Chinese growth, so when we look at aggressive military exercises, human rights challenges and abuses, or increasing territorial disputes—including of course with Taiwan, another applicant country or customs area—this becomes geopolitical. We have also seen clear examples of Chinese economic coercion against other trading partners. It probably would lead a rational assessment to consider that, if it was a choice for the UK between Taiwan and China, it should be Taiwan. But how do you make such a decision when we are so intertwined with the Chinese economy, as I have highlighted?

We are debating the various chapters for the UK. On digital trade, which we debate quite a lot in this House, we discussed concerns around China complying with standards on digital trade. Chapter 17 is on state-owned enterprises. These areas were debated considerably during the procurement legislation. Chapter 18 is about intellectual property, which we have debated quite considerably. The noble Lord, Lord McNicol, raised chapter 19 on labour and chapter 26 on transparency and anti-corruption. All of these aspects may lead to the conclusion that the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, gave: that this is a hypothetical situation.

That may be correct, but nevertheless it has applied. We will be a member; we may form part of the commission to discuss this, and we may have a key role in those discussions about consensus for the application. Up until the point that China withdraws, I believe that our Parliament needs to have regular debates and we need to be informed. That is why I am sympathetic to this amendment.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I thank noble Lords for their significant contributions to this important section of the debate. I will go through the key points one by one.

In joining CPTPP we are securing our place in a network of countries that is committed to free and rules-based trade, and which has the potential to be a global standards setter. The CPTPP acts as a gateway to the dynamic and fast-growing Indo-Pacific region, and expansion of this agreement’s membership will only bring further opportunities, in our view, for British businesses and consumers.

There are currently six economies with applications to join the CPTPP, including China, Taiwan, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Ukraine. As noble Lords will be aware, the CPTPP is a group of 11 parties and will become 12 when the UK accedes. It has been agreed within the group that applicant economies must meet three important criteria. They must meet the high standards of the agreement, have a demonstrated pattern of complying with their trade commitments, and command consensus of the CPTPP parties. It is very important that I clarify that for this discussion. These are strong criteria.

Our own accession was successful because we are demonstrably a high-standards economy with a strong track record, and we garnered the support of every party for our accession. This sets a strong precedent: the robust experience that the UK has been through has reinforced the high standards and proved the bar is not easy to meet.

As a new member of the CPTPP group, it is right that we work within the principles of the group to achieve a consensus decision, rather than giving our own individual narrative on each applicant, such as through the report proposed in this amendment. This is not a question about one particular economy. The UK is closely involved in discussions on this topic but will have a formal power to oppose an application only post-ratification, as I am sure the noble Lord, Lord Leong, will be aware. We joined first so that we would be on the inside judging other applications, not vice-versa. It is therefore crucial that the UK ratifies this agreement and becomes a party. This will ensure that the standards the UK has met and abides by are continually upheld under CPTPP, with every future applicant going through this same rigorous process.

I reassure the noble Lord and the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, who spoke so eloquently, that accession of new parties after the UK has joined will entail a change in rights and obligations of existing parties. Any new agreement requiring ratification by the UK would be subject to the terms of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 as per the Government’s commitment surrounding the CRaG process.

I assure noble Lords that accessions will proceed only if applicants have met the rigorous criteria and have consensus of the CPTPP parties, of which the UK will be one only once we have acceded. We will continue to engage with the public and Parliament through the mechanisms I have just outlined, before any future negotiations. In this complex matter, I ask the noble Lord to withdraw this amendment.

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Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Portrait Lord McNicol of West Kilbride (Lab)
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My Lords, we are now on to the fourth group so we are getting there. We have been through the bulk of the detailed amendments, so these should be relatively straightforward. There are four amendments in this group, all in my name, so I will work through them. They all seek to have assessments of the impact of the implementation of the CPTPP after two years. If we come back to these on Report, we will look to change that timing to being from accession rather than from the Act being passed, which is eminently sensible. As the Minister has said, a review will take place on the four areas I have highlighted—local business, manufacturing, the job market and public services. I am sure that he will be more than happy to accept into it.

To go into a little detail within those four areas, we are concerned that the CPTPP could open up public procurement markets, restricting public authorities’ ability to support local businesses that recognise trade unions or pay the living wage, so there is a concern regarding the criteria provisions of the CPTPP and the fact that in some cases they are narrower than the UK procurement laws and could encourage more contracts to be based solely on lower prices rather than quality and access to integrity of service provision. On local businesses, we seek clarification from the Minister that this is not the case.

I turn to the manufacturing sector, where again we have concerns that the CPTPP could pose threats to jobs as it would make it easier, to take an example, for Vietnam to export goods to the UK that could include cheap Chinese steel or other manufactured goods such as tyres, cement and glass deliberately routed through Vietnam to avoid remedies and tariffs. The Trades Union Congress is concerned that this could increase the rate of trade dumping in the UK manufacturing sectors, putting thousands of jobs in steel and related supply chains at risk.

In 2017 the European Commission found that China had been shipping steel from Vietnam to evade tariffs, which led to dumping in the UK steel sector. The risk of increased dumping from Vietnam, as well as other countries, is compounded by the fact that the UK trade remedy system is currently too weak to be effective. The TUC is part of the Manufacturing Trade Remedies Alliance with the Unite, GMB and Community trade unions as well as a number of manufacturing employers’ associations. They are calling for stronger measures to deal with dumping from countries such as China and Vietnam in legislation and the removal of the public interest and economic interest tests, which prevent effective trade remedies being applied.

I turn to the job market. Following conversations with the TUC, I know there are concerns that the CPTPP may lead to job losses in some sectors due to increased imports from CPTPP countries. Of course there will be benefits from increased trade, but how do we ensure that important sectors of UK manufacturing are protected? I seek some reassurance from the Minister on that.

I turn to the public sector. CPTPP accession could also expose public services to further privatisation as it takes the negative list approach to service listings. This means that any services not explicitly exempted will be opened up to further privatisation. In the past, the Government have not adequately excluded services in trade deals to offer that protection. Meanwhile, the Government’s ability to exempt public services adequately in the CPTPP would be severely restricted as the UK would be joining the existing agreement with the 11, rather than at the start. This weakens and reduces our power to alter it. I beg to move Amendment 19.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I am grateful, as always, for the debate we have had around these important points. I hope noble Lords will agree that I have covered in previous groups the importance of reviewing these free trade agreements and how they impact our economy. As I say, I passionately believe that they will be enormously positive. The noble Lord, Lord McNicol, may be overestimating the threats in areas such as privatisation, steel dumping and so on. We have strong protections from the TRA protecting our economy in areas such as steel. This free trade agreement does not affect our ability to control that area of our economy.

I am afraid that I cannot see how this FTA would lead to increased levels of privatisation. We have been very careful about protecting key areas of our economy. To some extent, my job as Investment Minister is to encourage flows of capital into the UK, and we were asked earlier for impact assessments around that. I would be comfortable with seeing flows of capital from CPTPP member countries into the UK: we are aligned with them, and they are our allies—we want to do more trade with them—but I do not think it will lead to the negative consequences to which the noble Lord alluded. However, I am comfortable to have further discussions. As I said earlier, we should look carefully in these debates at the sorts of areas that we wish to review to make sure that the impacts around FTAs are properly understood, but I would be very reluctant to have them codified in amendments to this Bill, for obvious reasons.

Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Portrait Lord McNicol of West Kilbride (Lab)
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I thank the Minister for his response. As he outlined earlier, there will be an opportunity to review the implementation of the CPTPP in two years. The point of these probing amendments was just to put on record the importance of the sectors in these specific areas. He has put in Hansard, in his own words, that there will be no derogations in those areas, and I look forward to holding him to that. With that, I beg leave to withdraw Amendment 19.

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We are making progress on removing the ability to have SLAPP mechanisms in other legal situations to remove what could well be vexatious approaches, and we would not want to see that through the mechanisms here. It is important that the Government provide clarity, not only with our relationships going forward but especially on Canada, because we are acceding to a treaty while negotiating an FTA where it has been agreed that part of the negotiations would be fed in by a review of ISDS. I simply do not know where we stand, so I hope that the Government might be able to provide some clarity.
Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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My Lords, I thank noble Lords for this important series of amendments and the discussion that we have been able to have around them. Since this relates to investor-state dispute settlements and I have investments in CPTPP countries, I declare that and direct all noble Lords to my entry in the register of interests—although I do not believe that I have any specific conflict and I am always happy to answer questions on any of those points.

For me, ISDSs are a very important element of protecting our businesses’ investments overseas. I spend a lot of my time talking to companies that make significant investments in many countries and, where they do not feel that they have protections, it creates a far higher level of work for the Government in trying to support them when they have disputes and clearly increases the hurdles for the necessary rate of return. So, from our point of view, having mechanisms where investors feel protected when investing into the UK economy by the consistency of the rule of law and the application of that law is very important. We are very comfortable with signing up to investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms.

The question from the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, on whether the FTA or signing up through the CPTPP is linked to ISDS, is perfectly reasonable. My view is that it would not make any difference. I am very happy to confirm that in writing. You would not pursue an ISDS case according to a specific route: from the investment point of view, the country either has that relationship or does not.

To the noble Lords, Lord Davies and Lord McNicol, I say that an important element of our system is that we have protections for our businesses when they invest internationally and that international businesses investing in the UK can have a high degree of confidence. It does not, at any point, derogate or hinder our right to regulate in the public interest, including in areas such as the environment and labour standards. In fact, this right to regulate is recognised in international law, and CPTPP expressly preserves states’ rights to regulate proportionately, fairly and in the public interest.

The noble Lord, Lord McNicol, is right to say that we have received a claim from investors relating to an ISDS. I do not think that that came from a CPTPP country, and it was in conjunction with another country. That is a fact, but not one that is necessarily in contradiction with the point that we have never singularly, acting on our own basis, had a successful claim made against us. That is important. We have nothing to fear without ISDSs, and I reaffirm that our flexibility to enact the legislation and frameworks that we want to run our country is not impeded if we stick to the rule of law and understand and respect the rights of investors putting their money in the United Kingdom.

Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Portrait Lord McNicol of West Kilbride (Lab)
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I thank the Minister for giving way. The bit I am struggling with is the contradiction, and I do not think that he has answered that yet: we signed side-letters excluding ISDS with New Zealand and Australia, yet the Minister says how important they are. How does he balance these positions?

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I am grateful to the noble Lord. We did accede, in terms of their negotiating priorities, to do that. We have long-lasting relationships with Australia and New Zealand, and we are comfortable allowing that to be the case as part of the negotiating process. The point is whether we are willing to sign up for them, and my point to noble Lords is that we are. Clearly, we need to make sure these processes are properly followed and that they suit us into the future—but currently, today, we are very comfortable signing up for them. I think it gives us, and our businesses, benefit, and creates an overall higher level of investment confidence within CPTPP countries, and within the UK.

Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Portrait Lord McNicol of West Kilbride (Lab)
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I would like to thank my noble friend Lord Davies for his detailed explanation of this. It may well be something we come back to on Report.

I thank the Minister for answering the question regarding the side-letters, who was pushing, and how they came to fruition. I think that was important. The Minister’s position is that this is about protecting our companies. The amendment proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Davies, is a bit more detailed, but my Amendment 26 is simply calling for a review of the financial risks. I think that works well with the Minister’s position, so at this point I withdraw my amendment, but I am well come back to this on Report.

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Baroness Lawlor Portrait Baroness Lawlor (Con)
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My Lords, my Amendments 36 and 37, to which I speak, relate to the proposed arrangements for geographical indications and conformity assessments for Northern Ireland.

First, I shall say a word on the background as to why I proposed the amendments. The Explanatory Notes to the Bill say:

“The GI and Technical Barriers to Trade … provisions in this Bill will extend to but will not apply in Northern Ireland. This is because, under the terms of the Windsor Framework, EU legislation relating to geographical indications and conformity assessment of goods, as listed in Annex 2 of the Windsor Framework, continues to apply in Northern Ireland. Article 15 of the Accession Protocol ensures that the UK can fulfil its obligations under the Windsor Framework”.


I have not been able to discover an accessible UK Government-consolidated version updating the withdrawal agreement and its Northern Ireland protocol with the changes under the Windsor Framework in Annex 2. This may well exist somewhere in Whitehall, but it is not clear how to find it. However, the EU has a consolidated version on its website, with Annex 2 in respect of decisions taken by the Joint Committee under the withdrawal agreement. The most recent version from September sets out these arrangements to which we refer in respect of the Windsor Framework.

Articles 15(2) to 15(7) of the CPTPP accession protocol deal with Chapter 29 of the treaty, on exceptions and general provisions, which provides for an exemption for the Windsor Framework clauses in respect of CPTPP where there is an inconsistency. There is also provision in Article 15 for the commission to review the implementation of the CPTPP.

I hope that noble Lords will forgive this tour of the relevant documents, but it is difficult to see from the Bill that its procedures in respect of geographical indications and conformity assessment procedures will not apply to Northern Ireland. It will instead be subject to EU law, as is clear from what I mentioned. I therefore have two reasons for tabling these amendments.

We do not know how the application of Section 4 on GIs and the designation of origin will work out for businesses in Northern Ireland by comparison with the rest of the UK in its trade agreements with CPTPP countries, nor do we know how it will affect businesses in respect of internal UK trade west to east. I therefore suggest that it is fair and proportionate to require such a review as I propose in Amendment 36—with a new clause after Clause 5—to assess the impact of EU legislation relating to geographical indications and conformity assessment of goods listed in Annexe 2 to the Windsor Framework and to assess the impact of Northern Ireland being subject to different GIs from those in the rest of the UK. Although the Minister made a fair point about the timing of such reviews in general, might he remain open to a shorter period of regular reviews for the assessment of the impact of EU legislation? This would not be a demanding exercise, given the proportionately small size of the economy.

It is important that the questions raised about the comparative impact of EU legislation on GIs and the conformity assessment of goods are a matter not of speculation but of fact, in so far as it can be established. We pride ourselves on consulting widely before laws are made, commissioning assessments on a range of areas potentially affected and measuring and reviewing the impact of a law once it is in operation. If Northern Ireland is to remain under EU law—itself a matter of some concern—it matters for Northern Ireland’s overseas trade, the smooth functioning of the internal UK market and the wider economy there that we have scope for such a review.

My Amendment 37 to Clause 6 is for the purpose of making it clear in the Bill that the arrangements for designation of origin and GIs extend to but do not apply to Northern Ireland. I suggest to my noble friend that inserting this at the end of Clause 6 would make for transparency and clarity and would remove the danger of appearing to brush under the carpet the non-application of arrangements in Clause 4 to Northern Ireland. With that, I beg to move.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I thank my noble friend Lady Lawlor for her Amendments 36 and 37. I can assure her that exporters in Northern Ireland will benefit from CPTPP in the same way as exporters across the United Kingdom. It is also right that the people of Northern Ireland have a say in how EU laws apply in Northern Ireland. I would be delighted to have further discussions with her; this amendment was tabled quite late in the day, I am afraid, so I would like to explore further and see whether there are any nuances I could assist her with to give her a degree of comfort about how the CPTPP will apply to the whole United Kingdom, particularly Northern Ireland.

Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [HL]

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This text is a record of ministerial contributions to a debate held as part of the Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Act 2024 passage through Parliament.

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Baroness McIntosh of Pickering Portrait Baroness McIntosh of Pickering (Con)
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My Lords, I want to intervene at a late stage on this amendment. I, too, was unable to participate at Second Reading because I could not be there for the whole debate, which I understand the rules, quite rightly, insist on. I apologise for not being able to participate then.

The amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, seems to have a certain similarity to a later amendment in my name, Amendment 27. I have already spoken to my noble friend the Minister informally—I hesitate to say “casually”—and alerted him to the background to that amendment, to which I shall speak when the time comes. Can my noble friend help me by telling me what the relevant conformity standards body is for food and agricultural imports? He will be familiar, I am sure, with the report from the Food Standards Agency in England and the Food Standards Scotland, to which I shall refer in more detail when I speak briefly to my amendment.

I want to congratulate the Government on something that I have been asking for for some 10 years. I understand that they have appointed a larger number of agricultural attachés. The original one was appointed in Beijing by my right honourable friend Liz Truss when she was the Secretary of State for agriculture. If attachés can be placed in countries such as those referred to my noble friend Lord Trenchard, including Japan and others, under this agreement, it will be an enormous boost. I applaud that. If my noble friend the Minister cannot answer today, could he provide the Committee with details on what part of the cost the farming and food sector would have to pay and which part the Government may pick up, because it would be an enormous investment?

As I said, I would be interested to know also which conformity standards body would be relevant to food and agricultural products, but I shall keep my main thoughts for when I speak to my own amendment in more detail.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait The Minister of State, Department for Business and Trade (Lord Johnson of Lainston) (Con)
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I greet noble Lords who have been kind enough to come back for another wonderful discussion on the merits and benefits of free trade that will be visited upon our nation thanks to the vision of this Government in seeking to apply to and being successfully admitted, we hope, to the CPTPP. I am grateful to noble Lords for continuing their discussions, particularly those who have tabled amendments, and for the interlocution that we have had up until now, which has allowed us to have a good debate. I hope that they are well aware that I am available to them continuously to make sure that we draft the right legislation and profit from these free trade agreements.

I shall take the amendments one at a time if I may, though in this instance I think they are quite well grouped. The noble Lord, Lord Lansley, well covered the points raised by the noble Lord, Lord Purvis. There is no derogation of standards. This is not about standards; it is quite a helpful and straightforward process of authorising conformity assessment bodies to perform a function which, in many instances, they may already be doing—there may be mutual recognition in some areas and there may be other standards being undertaken or tested for. It simply allows the Secretary of State to authorise CABs to approve the activities of a CAB in a CPTPP country. Very importantly—we forget this, because often we look only one way in these agreements—CABs in CPTPP countries can authorise activities in the United Kingdom so that we can export more efficiently. It is of enormous assistance to industry, without question.

I have just been told the answer to my noble friend Lady McIntosh’s question: UKAS is the conformity assessment body for agricultural standards. That answer came through just at the right time, but, as always, I am happy to write to noble Lords if I do not have the specific information. On CABs, the statutory instruments or secondary legislation that will come from this will cover a whole range of specialist and manufactured goods.

I feel I have been brief, but I believe everything has been covered in the discussion, unless I have missed anything. This is not about regulations, changing standards or anything like that; it is about a straightforward process where conformity assessment bodies can be authorised to follow whatever standards the domestic CABs wish them to follow in any CPTPP country. This strikes me as eminently sensible, and we very much hope that the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, would be comfortable with withdrawing his amendment.

Lord Purvis of Tweed Portrait Lord Purvis of Tweed (LD)
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I am grateful to Members who took part in this short debate. I like the Minister, and his enthusiasm for the 0.08% bounty to our economy from this Government’s vision is infectious. But we want businesses to take the opportunities from this.

I have a couple of points that the Minister might want to write to us about. If he will forgive me, the question I neglected to ask in moving the amendment is a concern that still plays slightly on my mind. If the United Kingdom Accreditation Service is now approving those within CPTPP countries, will those accreditation bodies be sufficiently aware of the Windsor agreement and the internal market of the UK? As the Minister knows, there is not just the UK certification badge on goods; if it is to do with the Northern Ireland market, there is also the UKNI certification process. This is complicated—we have debated it long and hard—and it will be a task for our accreditation service to judge whether the bodies within CPTPP countries are sufficiently qualified to understand our market and entering goods into all parts of the UK market, not just GB.

As the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, rightly said, there is currently a workaround for this because of the CE markings. From my point of view, it would be eminently sensible if we just kept that going on in perpetuity. However, the noble Viscount, Lord Trenchard, and the noble Lord, Lord Frost, may have issues with that, because it would mean that we would have to maintain EU standards in perpetuity too—so there would perhaps be consequences to that. In the absence of mutual recognition agreements, we will probably have to keep an eye on this. I am aware that there are some MRAs within and between CPTPP countries, and whether we wish to take the next step forward with those countries is an interesting issue. I am certainly very open-minded about that, because it makes eminent sense, as the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, indicated.

Fundamentally, if we are to approve other bodies, it would be helpful to know, through a report, which bodies have been approved, which have not and why. If they are not able to certify goods properly within the categories that are not self-certifiable under the WTO, there will still be that lingering doubt that goods will be entering into the UK market without the proper process. If there is a reason why our accreditation bodies have not approved them, there is a reason why those goods should not necessarily enter into the UK market.

I hear what the Minister said. Can he give an indication about whether he will write to me on Northern Ireland? He is nodding from a sedentary position, but is he willing to intervene?

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I will do that and, on the other point, clarify where I think there may be a misunderstanding about the conformity assessment bodies and our current imports. Do not forget that we already import a great deal from CPTPP countries without this arrangement in place; this just facilitates the effectiveness of the CABs internationally and vice versa. I hope we can clarify that—I can write to Members to do so.

Lord Purvis of Tweed Portrait Lord Purvis of Tweed (LD)
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I am grateful for that—as we know, there are currently imports under both the WTO approach and the CE markings, so, if this is moving away from that, a little understanding is needed. On Northern Ireland in particular, I am grateful that the Minister said he would write. At the moment, I beg leave to withdraw.

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Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Portrait Lord McNicol of West Kilbride (Lab)
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My Lords, there is very little to add to the detailed probing question—and answers—from the noble Lord, Lord Lansley. With that, I look forward to the Minister’s response.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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My Lords, it is a constant pleasure to debate with such intellectual firepowers as the noble Lords, Lord McNicol and Lord Purvis, and my noble friend Lord Lansley. It is a joy to learn new things, every day, about the opportunities and benefits of free trade, particularly the CPTPP treaty itself.

However, in this instance, the Government are not keen to accept the amendment, for the simple reason that this strikes me as an absolutely eminent clarification of the procurement relationship between a UK procurer covered by the CPTPP legislation and the international procurer who would not be covered by it. It clarifies the point that, if we are in a minority funding position, we have to be in a majority funding position in order to qualify under our own procurement legislation.

Therefore, this does something very sensible: it confirms that point. I am happy to clarify this further with the noble Lord outside this room, but it would be difficult for procuring agents in the UK who were not in control of the funding process to conform to the CPTPP procurement funding processes or our own national processes. That is why this is clarified. Otherwise, if you have a minority position, you do not have control over it—if you are putting in only a small amount of capital, it makes sense for the international body to make the procurement decisions.

Maybe I have missed something, but this strikes me as quite straightforward. I felt that, of all the amendments placed today, what we were doing here seemed to make things easier and clearer, rather than more opaque.

Lord Lansley Portrait Lord Lansley (Con)
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I intervene just to pre-empt my subsequent remarks. We are in Committee and may not need to return to this on Report, but it would be jolly useful to run through some case studies to examine how this works. My noble friend might help here, but this relates to whether it is exempted from covered procurement under UK procurement law. That may mean that there is less of a problem, but there is none the less a risk that these are procurements that may happen in the United Kingdom—Pergau dam buying consultant engineering services, for example. We might take that and say, “Here is a big engineering project in a developing country, and the procurement includes consulting engineering services in the United Kingdom. Do we need to know whether that it is wholly or mainly funded?” Maybe we could work through some case studies.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I am grateful to the noble Lord for his intervention. The principle here is ensuring that our procurement laws cover our own activities, so it is right to clarify where that is the case. I am happy to write further on this matter. I do not see anything wrong here and, in fact, I suggested to my officials before this debate that we look specifically at an example that could help to illustrate this—one floated earlier, concerning World Bank funding, would be very good to follow up on. We are happy to demonstrate that. However, this seems eminently sensible, so, unless it were felt otherwise, I would be reluctant to give way on this point, which clarifies the issue very well.

Lord Lansley Portrait Lord Lansley (Con)
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I thank my noble friend. I sense that the Committee would be happy for us to take this away and look at it. We may or may not need to return to it on Report, but I am grateful to my noble friend for that offer. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Portrait Lord McNicol of West Kilbride (Lab)
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My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Lansley. The Trade Marks Act 1994 at no point uses the phrase “established by use”. However, it specifically makes provision for registered trademarks, whereas—this was the final point of the noble Lord, Lord Lansley; he may be wrong and looking for clarification from the Minister—if it is established by use then it would presumably be unregistered, as he said. Therefore, would it not be subject to common law through the concept known as “passing off”? With that, I look forward to the Minister’s response.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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As always, I am grateful to noble Lords for their points. Clearly, it is easy to confuse trademarks and geographical indications. With geographical indications, there is a principle of established use, whereas with trademarks, something is either trademarked or it is not. That is why we are comfortable with the language as it sits.

There is no reference in the Trade Marks Act 1994 to the concept of “established by use”, because the concept refers to unregistered trademarks, whereas the Trade Marks Act is concerned principally with protections conferred on registered marks. However, “established by use” has meaning under the law relating to geographical indications.

Lord Lansley Portrait Lord Lansley (Con)
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I remain confused because, in Clause 4(3), “established by use” relates to the trademark and not to the GI. I see the point that my noble friend makes, but where is the concept of a trademark established by use?

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I apologise to my noble friend, but that is not how I read it. It is linked to designation—that is, if origin and geographical indication conflict with trademarks. It would be logical that “established by use” is in relation to geographical indications. I am afraid that that is how I have read it. I do not think that there is an inconsistency. As with all things, I am very comfortable having a further look at it, but I think it would be an issue if we took out “established by use” and inserted

“in use prior to that date”,

which could result in applications for GIs being rejected under our amended rule, which is not required under CPTPP.

It is important to note that this authority allows the Secretary of State to restrict the use of a geographical indication if it is likely to cause confusion for any GIs that come in after accession or after this Bill becomes an Act. Clearly, she must have an eye to the UK legislative framework. The provision gives her the power to clarify the geographical indications. I do not believe that I have missed anything, but I am probably about to be corrected.

Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Portrait Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (Lab)
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You are not—I would not dream of doing so—but I think the point made by the noble Lord is worth further consideration. My—relatively recent—reading of it is that we are pointing in two directions. There is a question about trademarks and how they may or may not be protected consequent on us joining the CPTPP; there is also the question of the very new idea of GIs. They are recent inventions and I do not think we have quite tracked out where they go and what they do. For example, if Melton Mowbray pies are to become a standard under which we take this forward, we need to think quite carefully about what that means in relation to the countries that we are joining, because the tradition there is completely different. I am not saying that the wording is wrong, but it would be helpful to have a discussion offline.

I have always found in these matters—others will have heard me on this—that there is a small group in your Lordships’ House who really understand and like intellectual property. It has a nasty habit of tripping you up if you do not get it right first time round, and we might be in that sort of territory here.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful to the noble Lord. I hope that he does not feel that I have been tripped up by this. I am very comfortable with what we have drafted. It gives protections in the right way for GIs which are established by use, and it clarifies the difference between those and trademarks. As with all things, it is important that we have a deep discussion about this, so I am very comfortable having further debates about it. We will no doubt return to this matter, because it is important. It is not a political point to make but a technical point to ensure that we are doing it in the right way. As the noble Lord rightly pointed out, GIs are a relatively new concept. At the same time, it makes sense to ensure that our historical GIs which have been in established use are properly protected. We have the opportunity to protect them into the future against other GIs that may cause confusion with commercial intent.

I ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment, but, clearly, we are happy to have further discussions and I am sure that my officials will engage on that at the first possible opportunity.

Lord Lansley Portrait Lord Lansley (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful to my noble friend. I am very happy to proceed on the basis he proposes, but I say that the way it is structured at the moment, “established by use” relates to the trademark, not to the GI, so the concept of a trademark established by use in statute when it is not in the Trade Marks Act seems a potential problem. I leave that thought. We will talk about it more and may need to come back to it, just as we did on the preceding group. I am grateful to my noble friend for his willingness to have a good look at it. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Baroness Lawlor Portrait Baroness Lawlor (Con)
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My Lords, apropos of the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Davies, it is important not to get carried away by the precautionary principle because it introduces difficult conflicts in the arrangements of our own law. The precautionary principle owes a great deal to the civil law tradition and its code-based arrangements, whereas our common-law approach is much more open and based on case law, and it is more conducive to our businesses.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I thank everyone who attended Second Reading. It seems a very few did; I do not know where everyone has come from since then. I was there. I believe it was the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, who recommended that I read the Hansard of the Second Reading, which I thought was peculiar, since I definitely remember being there, but maybe it was an avatar or a creation. None the less, it is important that people feel that they can come into and out of these different discussions to add value where they can.

I shall try to answer these very important points in order, but please forgive me if I miss anything because I want to make sure that we have a chance to go through them. I shall begin by addressing the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, as much as the amendment itself. The noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, raised the same point slightly earlier, which I did not cover, about our agricultural attachés and the importance of making the most of our free trade agreements. I completely agree that there is an unlimited amount that any Government can do to promote the advantages of free trade and the free trade agreements, so I am keen and open, as is the department, to hear any views or suggestions that we can deploy effectively and cost-effectively to spread the word. It is why these debates are so important.

It is also why the initiatives we have taken are very relevant. We are assessing a range of different options, including using AI to feed into information we get from HMRC on what companies are engaged in or where they are already exporting to. Where there may be overlaps, we can then contact the companies and promote the different free trade options. It is complicated, but essential because if we do not promote the free trade options, what are we doing having these lengthy debates about free trade agreements? I am happy to be pressed on that. Clearly, it is important that the department reports on the assistance it gives to exporters, and it does. For example, earlier today I was talking to one of our IT staff who was presenting to me the effects that their specific system is having on exports. He listed a very significant total which he said was growing continually. These sorts of areas are reported on, and they should be. We should be held to account on that.

When it comes to specific reports on the effect on GIs, the noble Lord is trying to approach two concepts, as I understand it. First, there will be derogative elements on GIs, so have we protected our GIs and is there a protection regime being effectively deployed on account of us joining the CPTPP? That is difficult to do because not all countries have a multilateral agreement rather than a single country-to-country free trade agreement, and not all countries—I am afraid I cannot recall which ones but Australia and New Zealand in relation to our relationship via the EU is a good example—have geographical indications regimes, so it would not count; they could not police it. However, by having these stated relationships and highlighting these principles, we already go a long way to effectively protecting our GIs in CPTPP countries because we have a forum in which we can have open and frank discussions. It is clearly not in any country’s interest to derogate another country’s trademark policies, GIs or whatever. It would be difficult to apply this piece, but I am fully aware of the importance of making sure that this is clearly monitored.

The second part goes back to my first answer, which was about how we make the most of our GIs, such as cheddar cheese or whatever. We continue to invest particularly in the area of agriculture. I think we have one dozen—it may be nine, but between nine and 12—agricultural attachés placed around the world, funded by Defra and supported by the Department for Business and Trade and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. It is a multistrand initiative, which we think is very important in order to promote these products. Scotch whisky has been mentioned. As we are aware, tariffs into Malaysia will be reduced in gradations from 80%—a rate which effectively doubles the price of a bottle of whisky—to effectively zero over the next 10 years. These are important changes. I see them as agricultural products—food, drink and agricultural products linking together to be supported.

A number of noble Peers rightly raised the point about reporting. I will not go into all the different details, but I will try to touch on them. I would be reluctant—we will have this debate in the next Committee session on 14 December—statutorily to oblige the Secretary of State to undertake significant, specific levels of reporting. Noble Lords might say that that is because I am a government Minister, and officials always tell Ministers to avoid producing statutory reports. As a civilian, before I entered this job, I asked, “Why are we not producing more reports?” Having gone into the Government, I now realise that you can produce a lot of reports, but the problem is that if they are statutory government reports, the principles behind them can often become outdated very fast, so you lose flexibility. They are also enormously costly to produce. I see how the government machine functions: it rightly respects Parliament and its writ and so wants to dot the “i”s and cross the “t”s, so you often end up producing supposedly very comprehensive reports that do not really tell us what we are looking for.

What we have agreed to and will see over the next period is much more useful. In 2024, CPTPP countries will do a review of CPTPP and how it has worked. Two years after our accession to the treaty we will produce a summary report on the effects of CPTPP, and after five years we will produce a full report. It would be more useful to clarify the sorts of areas we wish to cover in those reports. We had this debate with Australia and New Zealand, and we came to some sensible conclusions. I was very happy giving Dispatch Box commitments, as a government Minister, that these will be the so-called obvious areas that we will want to investigate. Clearly one of them will be whether we have protected our intellectual property of whatever type, and others will be the effect on the environment and on standards, if any.

On that, to go to my next point, which the noble Lord, Lord Davies, raised in association with his amendment, I think there has been some misunderstanding as to what a free trade agreement is. A free trade agreement does not change anything about UK standards. We already trade with all those countries significantly, such as with Malaysia. Perhaps I should raise my interests so they are on record: I have done a huge amount of business in the past with all those countries, and I still have interests in companies that operate in them—maybe I should have said it at the beginning, although I do not think it is relevant to this debate. However, I was doing business there when we did not have the CPTPP, so it does not make any difference to the standards employed in this country—there is no derogation from our standards.

If my officials agree, I will read from the excellent report from the Trade and Agriculture Commission, which your Lordships will all have read and which I think came out today—I am never quite sure what is in the public domain or not, but this is. I shall read out only two questions. Question 1 is:

“Does CPTPP require the UK to change its levels of statutory protection in relation to (a) animal or plant life or health, (b) animal welfare, and (c) environmental protection? Answer: No”.


Question 2 is:

“Does CPTPP reinforce the UK’s levels of statutory protection in these areas? Answer: Yes”.


That is pretty relevant for me—I hope your Lordships do not think I am being glib, because clearly the report says more than that. However, that is an important assessment—I think some noble Lords sit on the TAC, but maybe not those in the Room today. It is not about derogating our standards in any way but is particularly about making sure that our businesses can deploy their skill sets and expertise more effectively, with less friction and with lower tariffs, which is good for the consumer and for our businesses. However, it does not change our standards, or, by the way, the standards of the countries to which we are exporting.

I will roll on to the other points, which are on the rules of origin. It is perfectly normal for traders to self-certify, and in fact, that is what we want. I have visited freeports recently, another great initiative of this Government, so I have seen a number of port activities. Efficient port activities rely on ad hoc inspections, therefore risk-based approaches to customs clearances for most things, and that is absolutely right. Although the rules of origin are complicated, and there are varying channels of rules of origin, as the noble Lord, Lord Foster, so rightly pointed out, it is up to the company to choose the avenue that it uses. I believe that we have the right resources to make sure that our rules of origin processes are properly checked, and I have continued to check that. However, there is also a committee in CPTPP on the rules of origin so this can be further discussed and clarified. It met last month and we attended it as an acceding member, so we are already participating in this, which is important.

The noble Lord, Lord Kerr, rightly raised the principle around the timing of the report; I think I covered that point in the sense that certainly after 12 months it would be unhelpful to produce a report on anything, frankly. However, if we are going to produce a report after two years, which we have committed to do, I am very happy to have further discussions about what will be in that report and what will be in the five-year report.

I was delighted that the noble Lord, Lord Alton, raised the extremely close relationship that we have with Korea— rather than attend the Second Reading, he and the noble Viscount, Lord Trenchard, attended the address by President Yoon. That is a good example in that although South Korea is not a member of CPTPP, we celebrated, thanks to the good works of the investment team, over £20 billion-worth of investment in the UK. That was a significant celebration of the depth of our relationship with Korea—if I may say that as an aside and champion the investment department at the Department for Business and Trade.

I will cover two points on the precautionary principle, which the noble Viscount, Lord Trenchard, raised, which is important, and it is clearly in this amendment. The precautionary principle already exists in the Environment Act 2021, so I think the Secretary of State has to have an eye to it in her activities, as do all Secretaries of State. To add it into this free trade agreement would create unnecessary duplication and parallel obligations, which causes confusion for businesses and countries.

Lord Davies of Brixton Portrait Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
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The Minister is quite correct. It is in a statement associated with the Act, but it applies only to the environment. Of course, the trade under this Bill goes somewhat wider, and there is just the thought that it should apply more broadly across the potential changes in protections.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I thank the noble Lord for that comment; I am happy to have a discussion with him and other noble Lords about this. We would resist this significantly. It would cause confusion to have parallel principles around how the Secretary of State should act in relation to this FTA and in other areas, in terms of how we manage our own economy and how we check our supply chains. The noble Lord, Lord McNicol, was right to raise the concept of supply chains; I have conversations with many noble Lords in many instances about the principles around how we protect our products in this country from supply chains that we find are either not aligned with our values—as well raised by the noble Lord, Lord Alton—or lack competitive advantage. I have great sympathy in particular with the agriculture sector, with which I have engaged significantly and which says that it is not about free trade but that we are obliged to conform to standards that are significantly higher than in other countries. It is classified as unfair, and we are very sensitive to that.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Portrait Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful to the Minister for referring explicitly to the supply chain issue. It should form the basis of further discussion, perhaps outside the Committee and before we get to Report. If we look at the requirements under the 2015 modern slavery legislation—pioneered by the Minister’s right honourable friend Theresa May during her time in the Home Office—we see that it places duties on us to look at the way in which products have been manufactured. It is not just about the precautionary principle; this is asking us, every time we take decisions about things that we are going to purchase in this country, what the supply chain was. It is not just about free trade; it is about fair trade. How can manufacturing industry in the United Kingdom possibly compete if people are using slave labour in places in Xinjiang?

I take the Minister back, if I may, to the amendments that I moved during the passage of the Trade Act 2021 and the Health and Care Act 2022 and, indeed—as the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, and others will recall—the Procurement Act 2023. They all looked at our duties and obligations under the 2015 legislation. By very significant margins, cross-party amendments were added to all those pieces of legislation. I simply ask the Minister: how will we comply with the 2015 Act? Would he agree to have discussions outside the Committee before we go further on that point?

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I absolutely make myself available to have discussions outside this Committee on all points. I refer the noble Lord, Lord Alton, to my original statement that collaboration around this is very high.

I will try to make a philosophical point which I think is very important: this is a free trade agreement. It is concerned principally with tariffs, smooth movement of trade and other principles. It is very important to separate that from the important standards that we hold ourselves to in this country. It is right that we have a number of very important pieces of legislation that drive standards in supply chains. Any of us who have been involved in business know that we have to ascertain our supply chains. In other areas, particularly in relation to the environment, I believe that supply chains are covered very well by our legal processes in terms of child slavery and other abhorrent activities. That is well understood and the supply chain obligations are very clearly understood. In the environment, it is still more nuanced. It will always be a complex area, because other geographies clearly have different environmental advantages and disadvantages compared with us. We are still working on that, but it is for a separate track of legislation. I do not think that it is right to confuse the principles of the legislation around free trade agreements with legislation around our own supply chain obligations.

When given the decision, should one be in a free trade area, able to bring to bear one’s own values to make necessary changes, or not be, because you do not believe that the participant parties are aligned with your values? I would prefer always to pick the former.

Although I would not necessarily suggest that there was a significant gulf between us, Australia and New Zealand when we negotiated the Australia and New Zealand FTAs, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the engagement with the UK on environmental and animal welfare issues resulted in significant changes in the Australian and New Zealand domestic animal welfare and environment policies. I have no specific evidence of that, but I know full well that there were strong levels of conversation around that and, at the same time, Australia and New Zealand made significant changes in our direction in both areas. Either that was a great coincidence or it was partially supported by the fact that we were collaborating with them more effectively. This is what the CPTPP will allow us to do.

I refer back to the TAC report, which made clear our own standards for pesticides, which were raised by the noble Lord, Lord McNicol. That does not change: nothing changes in our standards the day after CPTPP comes into force—that is for our own sovereignty to control.

I ask that this amendment is withdrawn, but clearly I am here to discuss in detail how we can reassure noble Lords that the principles around the need to report on the effectiveness and concomitant effects of the FTA are properly established, as well as other key points around derogation and key values issues, which should be properly controlled and contained.

Lord Purvis of Tweed Portrait Lord Purvis of Tweed (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful for the Minister’s helpful and interesting reply. My understanding is that Ministers are always advised to read Hansard: that is when they find out, the next day, what they should have said at the Dispatch Box and what officials have made sure is in print. The noble Lord, Lord McNicol, is absolutely right: nothing in the Companion required noble Lords to say that they met the President of Korea, but I guess it sounds good.

I thank all noble Lords who took part. At the start of his contribution, the Minister said that he did not see the value of the statutory reporting in many respects. I noted that he subsequently quoted from a statutory report and said that there was great value in it. Given that the TAC was the result of amendments that Parliament asked of the Government, I will take the second part of what he said as the basis of the ministerial response—there is great value in that statutory report. But, as my noble friend Lord Foster said at Second Reading at col. 700, it would have been helpful to have had that report in advance of the start of the Second Reading. Nevertheless, we will study that report now that it has been released.

The noble Viscount, Lord Trenchard, was right to make reference to the growing economies within this area. However, if we had the data on the growth of the CPTPP economies and stripped out their reliance on the growth of the Chinese economy, I wonder what those growth figures would look like vis-à-vis those in Europe. I suspect that they would be rather similar. It is hard to disaggregate the growth of the Asia-Pacific economy from that of the Chinese economy. I note that UK imports from China, for example, have grown to over £40 billion, now that we have a trade deficit in goods with China. The impact of China’s growth is disproportionate with regard to them all.

--- Later in debate ---
Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I again thank noble Lords for their input. The noble Lord, Lord Purvis, referred to my declaration of interests and asked about my interests in Malaysia. I do not have any interests in Malaysia, but I have had interests there, which serve to highlight the points I tried to make about trade. My interests are very clearly listed on the Lords’ register. I have small shares in fund management businesses but, as I said, I do not believe there is any conflict relating to this debate. I am always very cautious in that area, so I like to make everything as transparent as possible. I apologise for not making my declarations at the beginning of the debate.

I will now cover the important points. It is important to reaffirm that, as I committed to at Second Reading, the Intellectual Property Office will undergo a full consultation and report early next year on the effects these changes will have on artists and the industry itself in the United Kingdom.

Lord Foster of Bath Portrait Lord Foster of Bath (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am sorry, but although it will report early next year, that will be after we have concluded all our deliberations on the Bill.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

That is true of the House of Lords process, but I assume that, by then, the Bill will be in the other place, so there will be an opportunity to reference the consultation. My point is that the consultation will not have an effect on the treaty in the sense that we are able to take ameliorative action as a nation. I am grateful to the noble Lord for raising this, but it is not necessary to make amendments to the CPTPP Bill. We want to take time to decide the best course of action relating to how artists are compensated for their works being broadcast on broadcast media.

I am very comfortable with the principles around the consultation process, and I hope that noble Lords will be reassured that I have taken a significant personal interest in ensuring that we get into this debate with all the details that it presents. It is not necessarily as straightforward as it may appear. I admit to coming to this at First Reading and thinking, “This seems an extremely reasonable affair; shouldn’t all artists receive 50% of their broadcast rights?” Further investigation shows that the situation is much more complicated, with different artists having different concepts of rights, particularly in America, which has the largest market in relation to this, and certain revenues being able to be captured and retained in the UK, rather than repatriated, and so on. A very relevant point was raised to do with reciprocity.

If I may, I will explain to noble Lords, who know more about these subjects than I do, that joining CPTPP fundamentally changes an important principle in how we assess artists’ rights. The copyright Act extends rights to performers who are nationals of or who give a performance in a “qualifying country”, the principle being that you will qualify for the protections if you are a British citizen or if you perform—as I am sure the noble Lord, Lord Foster, regularly does—your musical extravaganzas in the United Kingdom or in countries that are specifically linked via the Rome convention, for example. The secondary legislation to the CPTPP will change this. It requires that we introduce a new basis of qualification which is linked to where the music is first published. To qualify, you do not have to be either a citizen of a CPTPP country or doing the performance in a CPTPP country, so long as it is first published there. There are grace periods around that too.

It is not as simple as saying that artists’ remuneration and royalty payments are extended to everyone in the world, because that is not the case. For example, a US citizen giving an original performance in the US and registering it there would not qualify if it was then broadcast on UK media. It is important to understand that there are some nuances. I give way to the noble Lord, Lord Foster, if he has a technical point.

Lord Foster of Bath Portrait Lord Foster of Bath (LD)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I was not going to intervene, although I was tempted. The Minister is 100% right that this is incredibly complicated. There is the issue of a UK session musician who performs on an American record that is then first performed elsewhere. The complications are enormous. The problem is that the proposed changes also have enormous potential implications, none of which we have had the opportunity to debate or fully understand the impact of on the UK music industry, which is confused about this. All I am asking the Minister to do is accept that there is something incredibly complicated, but it can and should be dealt with separately.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful to the noble Lord for his understanding of the complexity of this. I hope I have been able to explain to noble Lords the different principles in what we currently look to in our copyright Act and what we are signing up to in the CPTPP. It is certainly navigable. Regardless of accession to the CPTPP, it is already complicated, and there are specific agencies to make sure that these royalties are properly collected and stored.

I am reluctant to accept these amendments today and ask noble Lords who have proposed them to withdraw them, but I am very comfortable with having further discussions. It would be helpful for us to have a good discussion with the IPO so that people feel comfortable that the consultation is going in the right direction and that the right levels of input are being prescribed. The tertiary changes that we may wish to make to protect our music industry and artists would not necessarily be linked to this trade Bill, but they are important.

I am glad that I have managed to highlight and explain the new approach on who is eligible for these resale rights, because I think in the first instance it was assumed that everyone would be. That is not the case. It is important to differentiate that. We are signing up to a new approach in the CPTPP and this clearly forms part of our treaty obligations. It is very relevant that we debate that in some depth.

The noble Lord, Lord McNicol, raised a very good point in his amendment. I hope I can reassure him that this is not retrospective, but it would make sense for performances undertaken before the date to qualify. However, you would not be paid royalties for qualifying performances that were broadcast before the date. Otherwise, everyone would claim for past performances over the 70 years that IP goes back to—that would be totally impractical and inappropriate and is not what we are suggesting at all. Our legal advice is clear that the cut-off date is the day on which this comes into force. Anything following that point would qualify. Historic performances are clearly part of the IP record, but you would not receive royalties for anything from before that point. I hope that reassures noble Lords.

I hope I have covered the points raised. I am very grateful for noble Lords’ input on this important, sensitive and complex area. As is often the case in dealing with noble Lords in this Room, we are talking not about party-political or even political issues but issues of detail that have great ramifications. I see that the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, is keen to intervene as I may not have covered his points. The order of this is that the first statutory instrument gives the Secretary of State the power to make the changes, after which there is the consultation, and then the second instrument makes the changes. I hope that helps answer his initial point on the order of activity.

Lord Lansley Portrait Lord Lansley (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My noble friend has referred very well to all the issues relating to the definition of a qualifying performance, but my amendment relates narrowly and specifically not to subsection (2) but to subsection (3). It concerns the question of a qualifying country not simply in relation to the CPTPP and takes a power to make Orders in Council to extend the definition of “qualifying country” in future—not just to CPTPP countries but, potentially, beyond. My noble friend says that the Secretary of State can publish a draft and then consult on it. They can do that, but there is nothing in the legislation to say that they should. I would like to be sure. If my noble friend is saying that such a consultation must take place, I am not sure where it is clear that it must.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

We have not legislated for a consultation—there is no mention of that in the Bill—but we made such an undertaking at Second Reading. It is part of the process and we are very aware of the need to consult.

Lord Lansley Portrait Lord Lansley (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Is that an undertaking always to consult before making an order under Sections 206 or 208 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act?

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

No, I am sorry—it is not an undertaking to consult on the artist performance rights every time changes may be made to the countries that become applicable.

Lord Lansley Portrait Lord Lansley (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Just to be clear, what my noble friend has said may satisfy the noble Lord, Lord Foster of Bath—is that “Bath” with a short or a long “a”?

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Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I am grateful to the noble Lord. I am very happy to have conversations about this. Clearly, these FTAs make it difficult, if we are to comply with them, to have various and significant amendments to them. However, I am reassured by my officials that, in making significant changes to “qualifying countries”, we would make sure that there was an appropriate level of consultation. I am very sensitive about making great promises from the Dispatch Box because I always find myself getting into trouble later, but I hope that—

Lord McNicol of West Kilbride Portrait Lord McNicol of West Kilbride (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

No, I think it is good. Carry on.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord, Lord McNicol, would like me to make off-the-cuff commitments on behalf of the Government. It would be only logical to assume that there would be a degree of consultation in the same way that we are effecting one in this instance but, since I cannot give a firm commitment, I am very comfortable to come back to my noble friend between now and Report.

Lord Lansley Portrait Lord Lansley (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

That reassurance affords me the opportunity to beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [HL]

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This text is a record of ministerial contributions to a debate held as part of the Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Act 2024 passage through Parliament.

In 1993, the House of Lords Pepper vs. Hart decision provided that statements made by Government Ministers may be taken as illustrative of legislative intent as to the interpretation of law.

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Lord Lansley Portrait Lord Lansley (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, this group and the next group of amendments follow debates that took place in Committee, and I am very grateful for the Minister’s response then and for his subsequent letters that have further amplified the discussion about this. I apologise for delaying the House—not for very long, I hope—simply, in the case of both amendments, not to make any point of principle contradicting what is in the Bill, but to try to ensure that the meaning of the Bill and its intentions are as clear as we can possibly make them.

The first two amendments, Amendments 1 and 2, work together to rewrite that bit of the Bill to state that the exempt contracts would be, in this instance, where they are “wholly or mainly funded” by an international organisation, or

“funded by an international organisation of which the United Kingdom is a member to a lesser extent”—

so that funding is to a lesser extent—and is “required to be” under a procedure adopted by that international organisation. Article 15 of the CPTPP has a requirement that we want to transpose into our legislation. It states that a procurement that is not covered by individual countries’ own procurement rules would be one that is

“funded by an international organisation or foreign or international grants, loans or other assistance to which procurement procedures or conditions of the international organisation or donor apply”.

What we are looking to do in this instance is to reproduce that, so that the exemption for contracts under our Procurement Act matches what is in the CPTPP.

The government view was that the CPTPP just says “funded”, while our general approach is to try to clarify, to a greater extent, that it should say “wholly or mainly funded”—namely, more than 50%—which is consistent with what we do in relation to the rule on the general procurement agreement. However, the point that I have now reached, which I put to my noble friend via these amendments, is that it is not necessarily the case that an organisation such as the World Bank has to be a majority funder in order for its funding—and that of others with which its funding is associated, which might be other providers of grants or loans, or the recipient country in one form or another—to be required to be conducted under its procedures. That being the case, should we reflect the CPTPP rules by saying that either a procurement is “wholly or mainly funded” by the international organisation, or, if it is funded to a lesser extent, that it is required to be subject to its procedures, and that that would give rise to an exemption under our procurement rules?

That is the point of the amendment. I am sure my noble friend will appreciate the rather fine distinctions, but I wonder whether he might agree that, at the very least, we want to be absolutely clear that, if a procurement has to be conducted under the rules of an international organisation, such as the World Bank, it should be exempt from our Procurement Act requirements. I beg to move Amendment 1.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait The Minister of State, Department for Business and Trade (Lord Johnson of Lainston) (Con)
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My Lords, I begin by declaring my interests, which are very clearly listed on the Lords’ register. I have interests in limited companies and companies that are active in CPTPP countries, but I do not believe there is any conflict.

Baroness Kennedy of Shaws Portrait Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws (Lab)
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My Lords, we cannot really hear the Minister; could he raise his voice?

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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Yes, my apologies. Before I begin, I would like to declare my interests, which are very clearly listed on the Lords’ register. I have interests in limited companies and other companies active in CPTPP countries, but I do not believe there is any conflict of interest in this process today.

I will also say how excited I am about being back here today to cover Report stage of the CPTPP Bill. This incredible collective of millions of people, representing trillions of pounds-worth of trade, coming together will give huge benefit to us, and I am very excited about the opportunity for this great nation to add our trading muscle to what I think will be a phenomenal collective.

Importantly, I give a great deal of thanks to noble Members of this House who have contributed so much to the painstaking work which goes into crafting a Bill of this type and ensuring we come to the right conclusions in the right way. I know there have been a large number of you, many of whom are present today, but I particularly note the noble Lords, Lord McNicol and Lord Purvis, from the Opposition Benches, for their extremely collaborative and constructive input into the debates. My noble friend Lord Lansley, who we have just heard from, brings a wealth of experience, particularly on procurement. I am very grateful for his input. My noble friends Lady McIntosh, Lord Holmes, Lady Lawlor and a number of others, including the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, and the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, have engaged with me. We still have one more stage after Report and I will be delighted to continue engaging with any Members of this House, or indeed any groups that noble Lords think it would be useful for me to engage with.

I will also set the scene briefly for the debates we are going to have on many of these respective issues. My noble friend Lady McIntosh is in her usual place, and I apologise, because I have been trying to reach her over the last few hours, but we have not had a chance to have a discussion. I reference this point because what happens today in terms of how we trade, or how we manage our own standards in this country, does not change tomorrow. I think it is important to summarise at the beginning of this debate that acceding to CPTPP in no way derogates our standards or our ability to control our standards and, indeed, our destiny. We have been very careful to ensure that the processes are indeed very separate.

I know that we will have these debates later, but it is worth re-emphasising this important point, which I think is sometimes lost in the excitement of CPTPP—the argument that somehow our standards, import requirements and so on change, when they do not. All food and drink products imported into the UK will still have to meet the respective food safety and biosecurity standards for the UK. We are not having to change any of our food standards as a result of joining CPTPP, and it is important to emphasise on these well-discussed points that hormone-treated beef and chlorine-washed chicken are banned in the UK and will not be allowed to enter the UK market.

I am very grateful to various agencies such as the Food Standards Agency, the Trade and Agriculture Commission, the International Agreements Committee and other groups that have been extremely focused on ensuring that these facts are properly reported. I am grateful to them for the backing that they have given me in ensuring that those statements are clear.

It is also worth pointing out that CPTPP preserves the right to regulate to protect human, animal and plant life and health. The TAC report says that the CPTPP does not require the UK to change its levels of statutory protection in relation to animal or plant life or health, animal welfare or environmental protection. I am well aware that noble Lords wish to cover these issues later in this debate, but it is important to set that scene.

There is one area I would like to draw on now, in advance of these discussions, regarding palm oil. I reassure the House that liberalising palm oil tariffs with Malaysia does not undermine the UK’s environmental credentials. We remain committed to supporting the sustainable production of palm oil. In 2021, 72% of UK palm oil imports were certified as sustainable, up from 16% in 2010.

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Baroness Butler-Sloss Portrait Baroness Butler-Sloss (CB)
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Perhaps I might add something before the Minister speaks. Having listened with interest to my noble and learned friend Lord Hope, and with my limited intellectual property knowledge, I am concerned about the use of the words “established by use”. As far as I know, they do not appear elsewhere and are certainly not part of existing legislation. To bring them into this legislation, almost by a side wind, would be somewhat unfortunate.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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As always, I thank my noble friend Lord Lansley and all contributors to the debate on this amendment. It is very relevant, in my view; however, I am comfortable keeping the words “established by use” in the Bill as printed, rather than using

“in use prior to that date”.

My reason is simple and was pointed out by my noble friend: a single use of a name could be construed as giving the same protections as a trademark which, through an effective accumulation of good will and the establishment of its use, has been protected under these laws. We are quite comfortable with the wording.

I am aware that there is no reference to the concept of “established by use” in the Trade Marks Act 1994— I am surprised that there is no lawyer in this House jumping up to support me at this crucial moment, just when I need one. They seem not to be in their usual places but they would say, were they here, that this is an extremely well-established part of trademarks law. As I understand it—I am comfortable to be corrected, but my officials assure me of this—elsewhere, in the amended legislation relating to unregistered trademarks, is the common-law tort of passing off, which relates to good will. I am also reassured that in GI legislation—for example, Article 14(2) of the assimilated regulation 1151/ 2012—the concept of “established by use” is written and codified.

From our point of view, it is important to ensure that we protect our trademarks and that we use geographical indicators where appropriate. I will come on to the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, in a moment. Having spent a great deal of time working on this, I ask my noble friend to withdraw his amendment because I do not believe that by changing the phraseology we will give the greater protection that we want to our trademark-using organisations, businesses and people, and allow the system to function effectively. I am very convinced of that. We have a line in our next amendment that will allow us to discuss geographical indicators in slightly more detail, so I will cover the points raised by the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, at that point if he is content with that.

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Moved by
4: Clause 4, page 3, line 24, at end insert—
“1B. In a case where the protected designation of origin or protected geographical indication has been the subject of an application for approval of an amendment to the product specification under Article 53 which resulted in a change to the protected name, the reference in paragraph 1A to the application for registration under Article 49 is to be read as a reference to the application for approval of the amendment to the name under Article 49 as applied by Article 53(2) (or, in a case where there has been more than one such application, the latest of those).”Member's explanatory statement
This amendment clarifies the test for cancelling a protected designation of origin or geographical indication where the registered name has been the subject of a name change application; a cancellation will be possible only if the grounds for cancellation existed at the date of the name change application (rather than the date of the original application for registration).
Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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My Lords, Amendment 4 is a minor technical amendment that the Government have introduced. I will read out my brief to be clear, because it is quite technical. The Bill as currently drafted may lead to a degree of uncertainty for decision-makers over the date that should be used when assessing whether the new grounds for cancellation of a geographical indication apply in a case where the GI has successfully undergone a name change. Under the current drafting, it could be argued that, in such a case, the date on which the original application to register the GI was submitted under Article 49 of Regulation 1151/2012 should be the date used to carry out the assessment and not the date when the name change application under Article 53 was submitted. This amendment addresses that uncertainty by making it clear that the assessment should be carried out based on the factual position relating to the date when the name change application was submitted, rather than the date the original Article 49 application was submitted.

I will translate that a little. The provision is effectively looking at the date on which the name change is submitted, rather than the original name. If I have a GI—“Johnson’s Water” or whatever it may be—registered in 1990 and then change the name to “Lord Johnson’s Water” this year, then the reference would be made to the point at which the name change application was made, rather than the status at the time of the original GI. It is a clarification which we think is important, and I trust my officials’ view on that.

I will just answer briefly the very helpful comments raised about Japan and geographical indicators. I would be extremely grateful to my noble friend Lord Lansley for making representation to the authorities in Japan to speed the process up. We are fully committed to ensuring that our GIs are protected in Japan; it is part of the agreements we have undertaken, but these things take time to effect. We are doing everything we can to be sure that those indicators are protected. Anything that he can do to speed that process up will be gratefully received by this Government. I beg to move.

Lord Leong Portrait Lord Leong (Lab)
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My Lords, as we have heard, this government Amendment 4 is really a relatively minor and technical amendment, so there is not much to add, except for some questions we hope the Minister will respond to. How often do the Government expect this test to be utilised, and are there any potential ramifications they will come across? What happens if the name change application is not successful—is that a possibility? Finally, if a name changes from a geographical indication into a generic term, does this amendment apply?

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I thank the noble Lord for that point. I am very comfortable having a more detailed discussion about GIs in principle. It is worth noting that many countries, including those in the CPTPP, do not have necessary GI processes. Sadly, too few do, so there is a great push on behalf of this Government to ensure that we advance the cause of geographical indicators to ensure that our rights are protected. It is correct that it is possible for a name change to be rejected; it is a process that takes time, as with any intellectual property issue. It is a detailed and thorough process to ensure that we can be comfortable that names, trademarks, GIs and so on are properly protected, and the research has been done. It can be six months or it can be a year, which is why we have built in this provision to ensure that it is the point of application rather than the point of approval that the data is referring to. That makes sense.

There have not been any cancellations of GIs undertaken by this Government, or indeed recently. I will check that, but I hope I am accurate; if I am not, I will certainly correct myself in the Library. The question from the noble Lord is about whether this is something that happens regularly, and is a constant and ongoing issue. Maybe there have been one or two exceptional examples but as far as I am aware, it is a relatively straightforward process; it seems quite uncontentious so far.

These regulations simplify the processes in respect of how we operate with the CPTPP. Often, we look at the activities that will take place in this country, which is right. How to protect our own GIs is what we are working on domestically. Really, this allows us to export the whole principle of geographical indicators—the wonderful concepts of Scottish salmon and Scottish whisky, to name just two enormously important and well-branded products. It allows us to work with our partner countries in the CPTPP to ensure that those brands and concepts are well protected, because a GI does not give us any strength unless it is domestically registered and the domestic legal system respects these principles. I therefore hope very much that the House will support me on this technical amendment and on the principle that it projects.

Amendment 4 agreed.
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Lord Leong Portrait Lord Leong (Lab)
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My Lords, I thank all noble Lords for their contributions and the noble Lord, Lord Alton of Liverpool, for presenting this amendment calling on the Secretary of State to publish a report assessing the potential impact of China’s accession to the CPTPP on the United Kingdom and saying that both Houses of Parliament must be presented with a Motion for resolution on the said report.

As the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, indicated earlier, we on this side of the House would have preferred this amendment to cover all new accession countries—but for the purposes of this amendment I will refer just to China. Several noble Lords spoke in Committee on the case for this amendment and I do not propose to repeat what was said. However, I will make noble Lords aware of China’s non-market trade practices and its history of using economic coercion against CPTPP members, which must be considered in any valuation of its prospective accession.

First, there are aggressive military exercises and drills in the Taiwan Strait that threaten peace and stability in the South China Sea. This could be destabilising to regional trade. In addition, China has ongoing territorial disputes with other CPTPP members, including Japan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam. Its willingness to use coercion against countries that disagree with it has often strained relationships with several CPTPP members. For example, it halted imports of Canadian canola and meat products in response to the arrest of a Huawei executive in Vancouver. Japan was denied access to rare earth materials in 2010 and Australian exports have suffered from Chinese import bans. Furthermore, several CPTPP member states have expressed concerns that China’s subsidies of state-owned firms and arbitrary application laws would be likely to make it hard for the country to join the trade pact.

I wanted to quote two examples, but the noble Lord, Lord Alton, mentioned the Japanese State Minister, so I will leave it at that and bring in another example of our very own British CPTPP trade negotiator, Graham Zebedee. Without commenting specifically on China’s application, if a country’s economic rules are really quite far apart from what CPTPP says, inevitably there is quite a big question about whether they could undertake really massive reforms. These concerns alone seem to provide sound justification for the commissioning of a report and Motion for resolution, as required by this amendment, so that both Houses of Parliament have the opportunity to fully consider the case for and against China’s accession to the trading bloc.

Recent newspaper reports have shown the lengths to which President Xi will go to crack down on companies when strengthening his control of the economy. Business leaders in China are under immense pressure. Last year, more than a dozen top executives from sectors including technology, finance and real estate went missing, faced detention or were accused of corruption practices. China’s national security law, as mentioned by my noble friend Lady Kennedy, is dangerously vague and broad. Virtually anything could be deemed a threat to national security under its provision and it can be applied to anyone on this planet. This law has provided little or no protection to people targeted. Lawyers, scholars, journalists, pastors and NGO workers have all been convicted of national security offences, simply for exercising their freedom of expression and defending human rights. Business leaders may face the same treatment.

China’s current policies and practices are at odds with many of the provisions and requirements of the CPTPP, and it is unlikely to be able to conform to them unless current members agree to significant concessions in the negotiations. This is why concerns about coercion are particularly relevant. Without considerable concessions, it is hard to see how China would qualify for accession. Equally, China is highly unlikely to make the changes to its laws and regulatory systems that would be required to gain the acceptance of CPTPP.

We are obviously sympathetic to the arguments made by the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and others in support of this amendment. However, there is not yet any agreement for any other country to join the partnership. It would be improper to single out any one of the possible new members at this stage, including China. At Second Reading and in Committee, we put on record our strong concern about China’s human rights record, but we believe that our human rights concerns should be universal and that one country should not be singled out. Should the noble Lord, Lord Alton, decide to divide the House on this amendment, we will abstain.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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My Lords, I am grateful for this debate and I have the greatest respect for my noble friend Lord Alton, who, over the years, has demonstrated his significant level of passion on this very important matter, as have many other noble Lords today. I do not want to deviate from the important points I wish to make relating to this CPTPP Bill, so forgive me if I do not necessarily answer all the questions that have been presented in relation to some of the topics raised. However, I would like to say, very importantly, that I clearly personally strongly reject the sanctioning of our parliamentarians. We have made it very clear before that China’s attempts to silence those highlighting human rights violations at home and abroad, including, and specifically, their targeting of MPs and Peers here in the UK, are unwarranted and unacceptable. I begin discussion on this amendment with that very important statement.

I turn to the debate around the CPTPP. As I have made clear throughout the last few stages of this Bill, in joining CPTPP, we are securing our place in a network of countries that are committed to free and rules-based trade, which has the potential to be a global standard setter. CPTPP acts as a gateway to the dynamic and fast-growing Indo-Pacific region and delivers on last year’s integrated review refresh to continue to enhance our relationships in that region. I stress this point, which was raised, I believe, by the noble Lord, Lord Purvis. Expansion of this agreement’s membership will only bring further opportunities for British businesses and consumers.

On potential new accessions, there are currently six economies with applications to join the group: China, Taiwan, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Ukraine. China’s application, alongside the applications of the other five economies, is at the outset of the application process and has certainly not been determined. As noble Lords are already aware, the CPTPP is a group of 11 parties and will become 12 when the UK accedes, and decisions must be taken by consensus of the CPTPP parties. However, it has been agreed within the group that applicant economies must also meet three important criteria: they must meet the high standards of the agreement; they have to have demonstrated a pattern of complying with their trade commitments; and they must command consensus of the CPTPP parties. These are very strong criteria, and I hope that all Peers on all sides of the House hear this very clearly.

As a new member of the CPTPP group, it is right that we work within the principles of the group to achieve a consensus decision, rather than give our own individual narrative on each applicant, such as through the report proposed in this amendment. My kinsman and noble friend Lord Hamilton made a very strong point in support of that. As I indicated previously, the UK is already closely involved in discussions on this topic but will have a formal power to oppose an application only post-ratification. It is therefore crucial that we ratify the agreement and become a party, so that we can work with CPTPP members decisively on each current and future application. I stress that to be drawn in on individual applicants now, ahead of the UK becoming a party to the agreement, could risk significant repercussions to our own ratification, which is why this is such a sensitive and important issue.

The UK becoming a party of the CPTPP is dependent on CPTPP parties individually choosing to ratify the UK’s accession, so it is not in our interests to step outside the group on such a sensitive issue. As I have been clear throughout our debates, we must join first so that we are on the inside judging other applications, not vice versa. It is therefore crucial that the UK ratifies the agreement, which will in turn trigger other ratifications that will allow us to become a party.

I want to be clear that our own accession working group was successful because we are demonstrably a high-standards economy with a strong track record, we made a market access offer of the highest standard, and we garnered the support of every party for our accession. Our accession process has set a strong precedent: the robust experience the UK has been through has reinforced the high standards and proved the bar is not easy to meet.

Comments were raised about state-owned enterprises. I will give noble Lords an anecdote from the negotiating team, as I understand it. We received a great degree of scrutiny over the relationship between Channel 4 and the Government, which few people, I think, would necessarily equate with the concept of a state-owned enterprise. I hope that that demonstrates the sort of inquiry that was behind our own accession.

I also reassure the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and everyone else who participated in this debate, that the accession of new parties after the UK has joined will entail a change in the rights and obligations of existing parties. Any new agreement requiring ratification by the UK would therefore be subject to the terms of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. So, if he will allow me, I push back against the noble Lord and his suggestion—I think the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, also suggested it—that there is no track for the CRaG process to be triggered should a new party be able or about to accede to the CPTPP.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Portrait Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB)
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The Minister made an important point, so I will press him on it, as I did during the meeting we had with officials. Can he confirm that the CRaG process does not provide for a vote in either House of Parliament?

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I am grateful to the noble Lord, but, if he will allow me, I will continue with my comments on what this process will involve. As noble Lords are aware, the CRaG process requires that the treaty text and an Explanatory Memorandum be laid before Parliament for 21 sitting days before ratification can take place. Under CRaG, either House can resolve against ratification of a relevant treaty within the 21 sitting days of the treaty being laid before Parliament. The House of Commons can continue, indefinitely, to resolve against ratification, in effect giving the Commons the power to block ratification. I hope that that answers the noble Lord’s question.

These are clearly quite dramatic actions to take on behalf of both Houses in relation to the CRaG process, but the point is that the levers are available. While there is no explicit up/down vote built into the CRaG process, there are multiple ways in which a debate can be brought to the Floor of the House. Should it be the will of the House to have a substantive debate, I am sure that Parliament would ensure that it would occur. I believe that that is referred to as the Grimstone principle.

Lord Purvis of Tweed Portrait Lord Purvis of Tweed (LD)
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My Lords, on a point of clarification, the Minister told us that it would be wrong for a country to comment on another country’s application and gave reasons for that to be the case, but the Government sought in our application support from other countries, and indeed welcomed Japan’s public comments that it would welcome UK accession. Why did we previously seek and welcome support from other countries for our application if the Government are now saying it would be dangerous if we made any comment about China’s potential application?

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, but it may surprise him to know that we are not yet fully acceded or party to CPTPP. As soon as we are, it is absolutely right that we make comment on other countries, but only after the process and we have joined. To include an amendment in the Bill now would be completely inappropriate, as I hope I have made clear. I think it would cause significant issues in this overall process.

I return to the point on which it is important to reassure the House. The House is looking for reassurance about whether any country can be sneaked under the wire to join CPTPP, and the clear answer is that it cannot. We have made clear commitments to clarify the process from the Dispatch Box to ensure that we know, as Members of this House and of the other place, that there will be a robust process around any new party joining CPTPP.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Portrait Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB)
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I am very grateful to the Minister, but I am trying to get clarity to see whether we need to divide the House. He has not answered the question I asked. He has said that there could be a process by which there could be a debate on the Floor of the House if the Government permitted it. All that would be welcome, if it was permitted. My question was whether such a Motion would be divisible. Would there be a chance for Members of both Houses to vote? When I asked that question during the course of our meeting, the answer I was given was no.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I thank the noble Lord for his comment but I feel he is being slightly unfair to me. I am describing the CRaG process, and the Grimstone principle makes clear what will happen if there is a desire for a debate and parliamentary time allows—I am obliged to use those caveats, as your Lordships can imagine, but frankly it would be astonishing if there was not a significant and strong debate over any country joining CPTPP. As I said, and as the noble Lord will know from his experience, the House of Commons can continue indefinitely to resolve against ratification, in effect giving the Commons the power to block ratification. I think that is a very significant and probably quite considerable device that would enable the noble Lord to feel reassured on that point.

The question is whether a new party joining CPTPP would trigger the CRaG process. In our view, it absolutely would, which gives enormous power and scrutiny to both Houses in ensuring that there is a proper debate on that. It is important to note, as I think was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, that, in the event of the CRaG process being triggered, I would expect the Business and Trade Committee or the International Agreements Committee to request a debate, and that the Government would seek to facilitate this, subject to parliamentary time, as under the Grimstone principle, which we have covered.

I would like to come to a conclusion here. I note the important contribution made by the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, in Committee. He commented that he did not believe that this amendment was “necessary or desirable”, and recognised the importance of unanimity among members. I want to bring us back to that point. We are now part of a group that has attracted interest across the world.

Baroness Hayman Portrait Baroness Hayman (CB)
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My Lords, I apologise for intervening, particularly when I have not taken part in these debates before, but I want to ask a question before the Minister leaves the issue of the CRaG provisions, which are very important for some of us who have listened to the debate and have an issue. He said clearly just now that the House of Commons could resolve against ratification, but the noble Lord, Lord Alton, was asking if it could have a vote. How would the House of Commons resolve against ratification without voting on the issue? That is what I struggle to understand.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her point. There is no explicit up/down vote built into the CRaG process; we are aware of that. I am talking to a House that has far more experience of the CRaG process than I do, so we know how the process works. There are multiple ways in which a debate can be brought to the Floor of the House. For reassurance, I will go through this point again. The CRaG process requires that a treaty text and an Explanatory Memorandum be laid before Parliament for 21 sitting days before ratification can take place. Under CRaG, either House can resolve against ratification of a relevant treaty within the 21 sitting days of it being laid before Parliament. The House of Commons can continue indefinitely to resolve against ratification, in effect giving the Commons the power to block ratification.

To some extent, this is important, but it may be academic. As I said, the question is whether a new party to CPTPP can be snuck under the wire. We are very clear that this is not possible. The process is automatically triggered. Aside from that, there are also the reports written by the Trade and Agriculture Commission, and there has to be an impact assessment, and there has to be a significant amount of scrutiny and debate, as there is about the CPTPP Bill today. I am very reassured on the principles and mechanics around whether we have in this House the right level of control and security to ensure that we have control over our own destiny in relation to new parties joining a plurilateral treaty, which is of course completely different from the country-to-country FTAs.

Lord Lansley Portrait Lord Lansley (Con)
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I am grateful to my noble friend. As a former Leader of the House in the other place and as a member of the International Agreements Committee, I am pretty clear that, under CRaG, the International Agreements Committee here, and potentially the Business and Trade Committee in another place, might make a report to Parliament that could lead to a debate. That debate could be subject to a take-note Motion, but that would be amendable. If it were sought to be amended in the other place to say that a treaty should not be ratified, the Government could not continue to ratify the treaty if such a vote had taken place in the other House to say that it should not. I think that gives the comfort that the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, is looking for.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I am very grateful to my noble friend for that comment. He is absolutely right that the Business and Trade Committee and the IAC are able to request a debate, which, as I said, according to the Grimstone principle, we would always seek to facilitate, given parliamentary time.

I should like to come to a conclusion. I ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment. I have made extremely clear, I hope, the rigorous standards that CPTPP applies. This is a plurilateral trading group that wants to have the highest standards of trade among them. That is my first key point. The second is that we have a number of safeguards built into our own processes to ensure that, were another country to join CPTPP—it could be any of the countries applying or future countries over the coming years—there will be a proper process, as has been defined in the CRaG process. I would ask the noble Lord, given the complexities and sensitivities that I believe this amendment would present to our ratification process, to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Alton of Liverpool Portrait Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB)
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My Lords, I am very grateful to the Minister and all noble Lords who have taken part in today’s debate. I felt we were quite close to agreement, as I felt we were during the course of the meeting that I had with the Minister. It comes down to the issue of whether or not such a report and Motion, were it to be laid in the House of Commons, as the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, just said in response to my noble friend Lady Hayman, would be divisible or not. It has been made clear that under the CRaG process that is not possible. That is why it was necessary to table this amendment.

As for some of the other arguments put before your Lordships, I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Hamilton of Epsom, who raised the issue of the United States of America. If the USA were to seek to join—it is not even in the queue or the list of countries to which the Minister referred earlier—all of us would be very pleased about that. However, China is in the list referred to, so this is not hypothetical—China is in the list. We are not seeking to have the debate here and now as to whether or not China should accede. That is not what this amendment would do. Chronologically, we are getting ahead of ourselves. The amendment would simply empower this House, should we then be members of the CPTPP, to have the right in both Houses to query such an application on the grounds that I laid out at length, as did the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy of The Shaws, and the noble Lords, Lord Rooker, Lord Purvis and Lord Leong, in their remarks about the nature of the country that we are dealing with. Is China different from the others? Yes, of course it is manifestly different, not least, as the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, mentioned, because of the products that we buy from Xinjiang. The House of Commons has declared not that there are human rights violations but that there is a genocide—under the 1948 convention on the crime of genocide—taking place in Xinjiang against Uighur Muslims, who are used as slave labour.

The noble Lord, Lord Rooker, is right about that, and we have this trade deficit that the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, regularly refers to, of £40 billion, which makes us very dependent on that country and does not contribute to our resilience. Will the CPTPP help us? Yes, it will, and I am glad that we are joining it. That is why I support the Minister in that objective and support this Bill but, as others have said in the debate, we need to be in a position not only to be able to voice our opinions in both Houses but to vote on those things as well. Otherwise, how will we express our view? Will it be done through telepathy? Will it be done as a result of people getting up and saying, “We don’t agree with this”? If there cannot be a vote, it is impossible. All of us in this House or who have been in the other place know that to be the case.

As for the views that have been expressed about the desirability of China’s membership, my noble friend Lord Berkeley of Knighton said that this is exceptional because it is appalling behaviour that we have never probed enough. We must probe. That is what this amendment seeks to do, to give us rights. Look at the amendment. There are two parts to it. The first simply says:

“Before any decision is made by the Government … on the accession … to the CPTPP under Chapter 30 of the CPTPP, the Secretary of State must publish a report”.


That is all well and good. The Minister has accepted that principle, so why not accept the first part of the amendment? What does the second part say? It says:

“Both Houses of Parliament must be presented with a motion for resolution on the report under subsection (1)”.


This is hardly revolutionary. It seems to me perfectly reasonable. We are being invited to tilt at imaginary windmills. I know that some will be under pressure from their Whips but, as I did during the debate, I commend the remarks of the former Leader of the Conservative Party, who has written to members of his party today to say that the amendment remedies the problem in a proportionate way that goes with the grain of government policy.

I would like to seek the opinion of the House, and I hope that those on the Government Benches in particular will vote for this amendment.

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17:42

Division 1

Ayes: 102

Noes: 212

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All the amendments in this group represent a chance for the Minister to prove that CPTPP accession can be monitored and assessed and that Parliament can have proper oversight of its consequences.
Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have participated in this debate, particularly the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, for his engagement, his very good summary of the various amendments and the points that he raised. If the House will indulge me, I will go through the different points quite carefully because there are so many elements. I beg forgiveness if I do not cover every point. My noble friend Lady McIntosh laid down a very great number of requests, which I am happy to answer outside this debate, with the broad provisions to be raised where I can.

Let me stress again how seriously this Government take parliamentary scrutiny of our FTA agenda. With this in mind, a full impact assessment for the UK’s accession to the CPTPP was indeed published at signature in July 2023, which is important to note, alongside the accession protocol text and a draft Explanatory Memorandum. This included assessments of potential economic impact on UK GDP and environmental impacts. This is important. I will refer back to the Section 42 report where relevant to reinforce and, hopefully, reassure Members of this House of the benign impact of CPTPP membership on our environment and border controls.

I want to pick up on a point made by my noble friend Lady McIntosh of Pickering about supporting our farmers and agricultural producers in this country. It is absolutely at the core of this Government’s policy to do that. The reason I am excited about the CPTPP is because of what we will be able to achieve when it comes to promoting our dairy industry: the additional quota access that we will have, for example, for cheese into Canada; the opportunities we will have to sell chocolate into Malaysia, reducing tariffs significantly; the opportunity to sell Scotch whisky into many of the CPTPP countries with lower tariffs.

We can combine these trade agreements with the extraordinarily strong work done by my noble friend Lord Offord of Garvel, who is in his usual place today, with regard to supporting exporters, and with the muscle of the Department for Business and Trade, the work of the agricultural attachés, and all that we are doing to promote exports around the world. This is why we are here. This is a positive and powerful expression of the extraordinary economic reach of the United Kingdom, particularly in its agricultural sector. I understand that there are concerns, and I will cover them, but let us understand why we are here in the first place: to promote our agriculture—an extraordinarily powerful sector in this country—to expand its interests abroad and create more wealth for farmers in the United Kingdom.

I want to touch on the monitoring report, which we will publish after two years, as well as a comprehensive evaluation of the agreement after five years. This will include an assessment as to the environmental impacts. An inclusive and participatory process will be at the heart of the evaluation, providing structured opportunities for a wide range of stakeholders to share their views and provide evidence; that is, basically, a proper assessment and review.

I do not think it would be helpful to be specific on every single checkbox. I am keen to make any review useful. But I would be surprised—that is the language I wish to use—if the evaluation and monitoring reports did not cover information on: trade flows under CPTPP; utilisation of the agreement; ISDS cases, which will be important to many speakers today; an overview of the work of the committees under the agreement to facilitate co-operation and implementation—that is particularly relevant when it comes to labour standards, environmental standards, reduction of the risk of deforestation and many other areas. There will be information on the environment covering many of the issues discussed today and on the impact of the agreement on all parts of the United Kingdom.

This is important. I have been asked to make commitments at the Dispatch Box, and I am very comfortable doing so. It is vital to me as a proponent of free trade that we promote the benefits of this extraordinarily powerful multilateral agreement; I hope that will be shown in the impact assessments and in the reviews after two years and five years. My principal point about the amendments that have been put forward on this Bill is that they are unnecessary because we are doing this anyway.

I turn to deforestation and the issue of palm oil. I am very grateful to my noble friend Lord Goldsmith for his amendment and for the passion that he brings to this vital subject. I believe that he is to be celebrated as someone who has truly brought to bear some significant changes to the legislation of this country following on from the Environment Act and the secondary legislation around the obligations on businesses relating to deforestation, which we will be bringing in; I am reassured by my officials that we are aiming for spring of this year. I want to applaud the work of my noble friend and say how important it is, and how vital for the future of this country and the world, that trade does not lead to a degradation of our environment and natural habitats.

My son came to watch some of this debate. He has now left; I think the third hour was the final straw for an 11 year-old. We are doing this in order that our children will have a world to inherit, as well as a strong economy in the United Kingdom. At no point have we ever suggested that we should separate our obligations to the future of this planet in relation to the importance of free trade. Those who do that are mistaken. In my view, they are inextricably linked. The positives of free trade are so significant and the opportunity for dialogue allows us to solve these problems.

I want to touch on the point about palm oil, which is very powerful. The Trade and Agriculture Commission, for whose feedback I am extremely grateful, has noted that the Malaysian sustainable palm oil certification had become a mandatory condition since January 2020 for the palm oil industry, as has been raised. The new 2022 version prohibits palm oil cultivation on land cleared after December 2019. This is very important. Provided that this new standard is fully implemented by January 2025 and compliance with it is effectively enforced, there is a

“low risk that Malaysian palm oil exported to the UK would come from land that was deforested after December 2019”.

It goes on to say:

“Moreover, the UK may be able to enforce Malaysia’s implementation of the 2022 MPSO standard if failure to do so has an effect on bilateral trade”.


That is extremely relevant.

My noble friend Lord Goldsmith was right to point out that we are signatories to the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, which commits both parties—clearly, we are looking at Malaysia in this instance—to halt and, indeed, reverse forest losses by 2030. This is the whole point about the CPTPP. It allows us to align our values with our partner countries, to raise their standards, to enable and facilitate, through the power of free trade and the wealth that it creates, the opportunity to improve their environment. I am grateful to my noble friend for pressing us on these points and I hope that I have answered his questions to his satisfaction.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
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I rise to intervene, but I have been caught by the House with a nut in my mouth, which is terrible timing—if I could have thought of some medical excuse, I would have done so. I thank the Minister very much for his passionate call for harmonisation of trade and nature. He is right; there should be no separation between the two. I was pleased by his commitment that the diligence legislation will come in the spring. I know that it is not entirely in his hands, but I am pleased if that is the assurance that he has had from officials. It is important that it should come through. Without that legislation, the risk remains. It will be like closing the last hole in the bucket. I am grateful for his reassurances. I encourage him to continue to push the other departments responsible, but I thank him very much for his words.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I thank my noble friend for his comments.

I turn to Amendment 12 on pesticides, which have been raised by the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, and the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott—and I had conversations with the noble Baroness, Lady Willis, as well earlier this week. It is very important for noble Lords on all sides of the House to know about the work that I have personally been putting in to ensure that we have the right and appropriate border checks and security, and that the agreements allow us to ensure that we have control over our borders. I refer to my opening comments a few hours back that this free trade agreement—on implementation day plus one, or accession day, or on becoming a party to the CPTPP—makes no difference at all with regard to our import controls and our ability to control our own destiny. This is very relevant. It is essential, again, to return to the Trade and Agriculture Commission’s report, which says that the

“CPTPP has no effect on the UK’s existing WTO rights to regulate the import of products produced using pesticides that are harmful to UK animals, plants, or the environment”.

It is crucial to remember that. We would never derogate our responsibilities to our consumers. I am very grateful for the points raised by noble Lords today to ensure that they can feel a high degree of comfort that this is simply not the case, and that we have not done so by signing up to this agreement.

I want to touch on some of the comments made about the practicalities of administering our border controls. I took the liberty ahead of this debate of visiting our Thames Gateway port system and was shown the operations there in relation to risk-based assessments. I think that is the right way to manage our borders. It would be impossible to check every single thing coming through. It is very important to reinforce the point that the CPTPP does not grant equivalence on exporting parties. We are able—indeed, it is considered that we have increased our ability—to audit exporting parties’ mechanisms for their own domestic testing to ensure that there is robustness around the testing processes before food is exported to the United Kingdom. We believe that, fundamentally, compliance is high. Our ongoing monitoring programme provides assurance that food on the UK market complies with our rules and is safe to eat.

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Lord Leong Portrait Lord Leong (Lab)
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My Lords, I am speaking to Amendments 7 and 8, and I thank all noble Lords for their contributions.

Intellectual property, particularly copyright, plays a pivotal role in the global trade in creative content, with the UK music industry serving as a prime example of its significance. It is imperative to acknowledge the substantial impact of copyright on fostering innovation and ensuring the efficient operation of markets. Additionally, it is crucial to recognise existing obligations under international copyright treaties and ensure their full and correct implementation by the signatories of the CPTPP. While the fundamental rights encompassing reproduction, broadcasting, communication to the public and distribution are addressed within CPTPP, it is disheartening to note that member states retain the option to opt out of certain obligations. Furthermore, the non-recognition of copyright protection for the utilisation of recorded music in broadcasting and public performance remains a regrettable challenge. To comply with obligations in the CPTPP, as mentioned earlier by the noble Lord, Lord Foster, changes need to be made to UK legislation with regard to rights in performance. We share some of the concerns in the noble Lord’s contribution earlier, and we would welcome an impact assessment to help us understand some of these non-compliance cases.

Will the Minister respond to the following questions, as mentioned earlier by the noble Lord, Lord Foster? Why is the extension of rights in sound recordings and performance to foreign nationals not covered under this consultation? At the same time, can the Minister share with the House when the results of this consultation will be published? Will there be a statement on collective management organisations, given their importance for the income of composers, performers and rights holders? Can the Minister also confirm that UK musicians are able to tour throughout CPTPP member states without any barriers and checks?

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I am extremely grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Foster, for bringing this amendment, for the discussions and dialogue we have had, for the correspondence I have enjoyed with the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, and for the excellent summation by the noble Lord, Lord Leong—I was about to say “my noble friend” because he is a good friend—who asked some key questions. I am afraid I do not have the answer to the final question that the noble Lord, Lord Leong, asked about the touring rights of artists. I will write to him on that; it is a very good point, and we very much hope that clearly the additional facilities that we have, in terms of temporary business entry for CPTPP countries, may include this. I hope it will and I will confirm this.

Some good points have been raised. In response, first, I will say that the desire to treat performers equitably is the right thing to do. Currently, there are a number of performers who are excluded from receiving the 50% mandatory royalty payment, simply because they come from another country or their work has not been registered in the appropriate fashion. The consultation, which started yesterday and will report on 11 March, is not specifically a consultation on the CPTPP, because we wanted it to be a far wider consultation around the principles of broadcast rights—but clearly it will reflect on the discussion we are having now.

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Lord Dodds of Duncairn Portrait Lord Dodds of Duncairn (DUP)
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My Lords, I too thank the noble Baroness, Lady Lawlor, and congratulate her on bringing these matters to the attention of your Lordships’ House and highlighting once again the importance of transparency and lucidity in these issues and their effects on Northern Ireland.

Despite the Prime Minister’s attempts to claim the Windsor Framework as a success for his leadership and the Tory Government, it has not accomplished its main purpose: to restore devolution in Northern Ireland. One reason for that has been not just the lack of substantive change in the Windsor Framework compared with the Northern Ireland protocol—it purports to replace it but in fact there was just a decision of the joint council to rename the Northern Ireland protocol as the Windsor Framework in British law—but the overselling, spin and hyperbole, particularly by the Prime Minister but also others, when it was published. It was sold as a wonderful transformation that would erase the Irish Sea border and so on, but has done nothing of the sort and could never do so.

That lack of transparency, honesty and frankness with people about what the Government could and could not do and what they were putting forward is at the heart of the problem. If their new proposals are published, we will no doubt hear more of this in the coming days and weeks, but this Bill lacks transparency for the reasons set out by the noble Baroness in proposing her amendment.

Paragraph 53 of the Explanatory Notes includes an amazing new concept in legislation passed by this UK Parliament: laws that extend to parts of the United Kingdom but do not apply there. This is bizarre. It is not highlighted or made explicit in the Bill, as the noble Baroness has said, but hidden in the Explanatory Notes. In over 300 areas of law governing the economy of Northern Ireland, we are governed by laws made by a foreign polity—in its interests, not ours—which are not susceptible to amendment and in the development of which we have no role. It is an incredible concept, but it is not new. It was first flagged up in the main body of the withdrawal agreement and the original protocol when the Government told us that Northern Ireland would be a member of the UK customs union but that the EU customs code would actually apply.

This is a concept that is not only bizarre but inherently undemocratic and unsustainable. It a concept that is at the root of the lack of devolution in Northern Ireland. Despite efforts to browbeat, bully and otherwise people in Northern Ireland, UK citizens living there simply want the right to be able to make laws and send representatives either to Stormont or to this place to make the laws that govern them. That is an entirely reasonable position.

The Government really should now learn the lesson that they should be open and transparent about what they have created and what they are about in relation to legislation which is restricted for Northern Ireland. They cannot legislate any more; they have given away the power to a foreign body. Who would ever have thought that we would have reached such a position in this mother of Parliaments following Brexit, which was about bringing back control?

I would like to hear the Minister give a commitment that, in future, these amendments will be taken on board by the Government, and that, for as long as this iniquitous position pertains, legislation being brought forward falling within the remit of Windsor Framework provisions will be explicit and say so in such legislation.

Lord Johnson of Lainston Portrait Lord Johnson of Lainston (Con)
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I am extremely grateful to my noble friends Lady Lawlor and Lord Jackson for Amendments 15 and 16, and to my noble friend Lady Lawlor for the very useful conversations we have had on this matter. Of course, the input from the noble Baroness, Lady Hoey, and the noble Lord, Lord Dodds, is always extremely welcome.

I am very sensitive to this matter. To be honest, I see my role as bringing a powerful trade deal to the whole of the United Kingdom. I am very aware of the points being raised by noble Lords in this House, but, I am afraid, at this stage of the proceedings I must concentrate on the specifics.

To answer the amendments specifically, I assure my noble friends that we will keep this under review once an Act and stakeholders in Northern Ireland will be an important part of that. Regarding the application of EU law in Northern Ireland, I remain of the view that the people of Northern Ireland are best placed to scrutinise the legislation applicable in Northern Ireland once the Northern Ireland Executive is restored. The Windsor Framework will provide them access to the Stormont brake, as noble Lords will well know. This will enable them to block specific laws impacting Northern Ireland. Furthermore, there will be regular opportunities for the people of Northern Ireland to have a say, via the consent vote. These are all points that have been well raised.

The CPTPP takes account of the Windsor Framework, and it is specifically noted that this is the case. Amendment 16 is superfluous, because under the Windsor Framework the EU’s GI schemes continue to apply to Northern Ireland. Our accession to CPTPP does not alter this. The treaty, accession and becoming a party to CPTPP do not change any of the discussions that noble Lords have had previously about Northern Ireland.

Additionally, the text reflects the recommended drafting practice in Bills for amending an assimilated EU regulation where the extent is to the UK, even if application is only to Great Britain. I have worked with my officials to see whether or not it is appropriate to include the phrase, and the reality is that it is not considered appropriate. It is felt that it would cause complications and confusion in the drafting of the Bill.

I hope noble Lords will be assured that I have spent a great deal of time discussing these points internally. I am very comfortable, as Investment Minister—as I am sure my noble friend Lord Offord of Garvel will be in his role as Exports Minister—to continue the work that we have done to promote Northern Ireland, following on from the success of the well-supported Northern Ireland Investment Summit and the work my colleague is doing to ensure that we have a strong export market for first-class Northern Irish produce. This will benefit from our trading relationships through CPTPP.

I look upon this Bill as an enormous positive for trade in Northern Ireland. We will do everything we can at the Department for Business and Trade to make sure that traders, businesspeople, farmers and citizens of Northern Ireland can get the most benefit from it. I recommend that the technical amendments that my noble friend Lady Lawlor seeks to place in the Bill are not pressed, because I do not think they will help in the promotion of CPTPP or in the clarity of the Bill. I am very grateful for this debate at this stage of Report.

Baroness Lawlor Portrait Baroness Lawlor (Con)
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I am very grateful to my noble friend the Minister for his constructive approach to our discussions. Though I confess to being a bit disappointed by some of things I have heard, I am heartened by the support of your Lordships and the contribution to the debate of noble Lords today.

It is very important that we should be transparent in our laws. I welcome the CPTPP—I think it is a wonderful treaty. I would like the fact that we are moving to our own laws on business and the economy to mean that this position applies to Northern Ireland, as part of our jurisdiction and as part of the UK’s entire economic area. However, I understand that that is not the purpose of this Bill. I understand what the Minister has been advised of on the conventions. I am not happy with the conventions but I hope that we can continue to work to do what we can to make sure that Bills in this House are more transparent. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [Lords]

(Limited Text - Ministerial Extracts only)

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This text is a record of ministerial contributions to a debate held as part of the Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Act 2024 passage through Parliament.

In 1993, the House of Lords Pepper vs. Hart decision provided that statements made by Government Ministers may be taken as illustrative of legislative intent as to the interpretation of law.

This extract highlights statements made by Government Ministers along with contextual remarks by other members. The full debate can be read here

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Kemi Badenoch Portrait The Secretary of State for Business and Trade (Kemi Badenoch)
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I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

This Government are proud to champion free trade at every opportunity. We recognise the power and potential of free and fair trade to ease the cost of living, lower prices and extend consumer choice, all of which drives growth across all four nations of our United Kingdom. As exemplified by the free trade agreements that we recently brought into force with Australia and New Zealand, it is UK businesses and UK consumers who benefit when burdensome red tape is cut, greater market access is secured, and trade flows more freely. The UK’s accession to the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership will help us to realise these benefits with 11 countries spanning the Americas and Asia.

As Members will know, this partnership covers a vast area of the globe—500 million people—which already accounts for well over £100 billion-worth in UK trade. Our accession will boost this flow of goods and services even further, leaving more than 99% of UK products eligible for zero tariffs. This matters, because we sell more to CPTPP countries than we do to France and Italy combined. As we join, the partnership will have a combined GDP of roughly £12 trillion in 2022 figures, equivalent to nearly 15% of the world’s total. It will also provide a gateway to the wider Indo-Pacific region, which is set to account for the majority of global economic growth by 2050.

Ranil Jayawardena Portrait Mr Ranil Jayawardena (North East Hampshire) (Con)
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Does my right hon. Friend agree that our leaving the European Union has made it possible to secure these deeper economic and diplomatic ties with some of the fastest growing economies in the world, and that it is only because of the decisions made by this Government that we are now getting on with that job?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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My right hon. Friend is correct. We would not have been able to sign this agreement had we not left the European Union, but we are now able to enjoy the benefits of this free trade agreement as well as the one that we have with the European Union.

Liam Byrne Portrait Liam Byrne (Birmingham, Hodge Hill) (Lab)
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Many of the figures that are sometimes cited about the future size and scope of the Indo-Pacific market include the size and growth of China. Has the Secretary of State reflected further on the evidence that she gave to the Select Committee last week, and can she tell the House whether, if China decides to try to join the CPTPP and meets the technical standards, the UK will block that or welcome it?

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Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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The right hon. Gentleman knows what I said to the Committee. It is important to stress the principle that these are not decisions that the UK makes in isolation, but he will hear more about the arguments relating to accession later in my speech.

One of the major benefits of our accession is the fact that for the first time we will have a trade deal with Malaysia and Brunei—economies worth over £340 billion in GDP. What does that mean for British business? It means, for example, that tariffs on British-made cars exported to Malaysia will be cut from 30% to zero, and that our whisky exporters will see tariffs cut from 80% to zero, a move that has been widely welcomed by members of the Scotch Whisky Association.

Mark Pawsey Portrait Mark Pawsey (Rugby) (Con)
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The Secretary of State has spoken about the size of this deal, and she has mentioned the major players in our markets, the automotive and whisky industries, which are of course very big exporters. Will she say a little about the opportunities that may exist for small and medium-sized enterprises, and the work that is being done to open up those opportunities to them?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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There will be a multiplicity of benefits for small businesses—for instance, the tariffs to which I have referred—but the agreement also contains a chapter that was specifically intended to help SMEs to take advantage of it.

Stella Creasy Portrait Stella Creasy (Walthamstow) (Lab/Co-op)
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The Secretary of State mentioned car exports to Malaysia. That, of course, will not make up for the millions of pounds that we now risk losing because of the suspension of the deal with Canada for the automotive industry. The Bill will do nothing to tackle that, because it is based on the accumulation of EU content that we need. Will the Secretary of State tell us what on earth she will do to fight for British car makers, given that we shall now have the worst of all worlds, and we are not even part of a “Canada-style deal” with Canada?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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First, Canada is part of the CPTPP. Secondly, the rules of origin, to which the hon. Lady was referring, have still not been fully decided; that will come in March. We are working with our counterparts in Canada. I think the hon. Lady was confusing the discussions on rules of origin with discussions on cheese, which is an entirely different issue.

UK companies will enjoy greater market access in some of the nine countries with which we already have bilateral agreements. Let us take Mexico. Under our current bilateral agreement, chocolate producers must pay a tariff of about 25%, but on accession that will drop to zero. We also said at the outset of our negotiations that we would like our businesses to benefit from the key trade quotas that this agreement offers. I am pleased to tell the House that we have secured access to those quotas as part of our negotiations. That means, among other things, that we have secured better access for UK dairy producers selling to Canada, Japan and Mexico, and it probably explains why Minette Batters, the president of the National Farmers Union, has said that the agreement could provide

“good opportunities to get more fantastic British food on plates overseas.”

I am sure that all Members here today would warmly welcome such an outcome.

Neil Hudson Portrait Dr Neil Hudson (Penrith and The Border) (Con)
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I commend the Secretary of State and the Government for the stance that they have taken with our friends and allies in Canada, namely that the UK will not permit the import of hormone-treated beef. It is important that we can be a beacon to the rest of the world in that regard. Can the Secretary of State reaffirm to the House and the country that we will stand firm in continuing to prohibit the import of not only hormone-treated beef, but ractopamine-treated pork and chlorine-washed poultry? It is vital that we uphold animal health and welfare standards, as well as helping to protect public health.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I am happy to confirm that that is the case. We are now in a position to make our own decisions on what we do with trade agreements. We have said that we will never compromise on animal welfare or environmental standards, and we continue to regulate. The difference between this deal and the kind of deal that we had previously with the EU is that we did not then have complete freedom to regulate.

Another notable benefit concerns rules of origin. Joining this partnership will mean that content from any CPTPP country can be counted as qualifying when goods are exported within the trading bloc, and that has the potential to benefit our innovative British-based manufacturers, including our car industry. In the automotive sector we have an exceptionally competitive global market, especially as we make the transition to electric vehicles. Critical minerals are needed for their production, and those are inevitably difficult to source in a global supply chain. It is therefore essential to the success of our industry that more countries recognise where a component is made and accept it as part of one supply chain.

For example, say one of our big automotive manufacturers in the west midlands ships a part to Mexico for additional assembly, and that part is then sent on to another CPTPP country, such as Japan, for final manufacturing. Post accession, the parts made in the west midlands will meet the agreement’s rules of origin. That is a real incentive for CPTPP countries to purchase more British-designed, British-made products, and it is part of the reason why our future accession to this partnership has been so warmly welcomed by the sector. Mike Hawes, chief executive officer of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, has said that the agreement makes “eminent sense” and has the potential to deliver opportunities for the automotive industry.

Matt Western Portrait Matt Western (Warwick and Leamington) (Lab)
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It is good to hear from Mike Hawes and to learn what he thinks, but can the Secretary of State give the House some indication of what contribution the CPTPP will make to our GDP?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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According to the models and estimates, it will be £2 billion a year, but it all depends on which countries choose to accede and how many businesses in the UK choose to take advantage of the agreement. A free trade agreement utilisation programme will therefore be critical to our gaining the greatest possible benefits from the CPTPP.

Mark Garnier Portrait Mark Garnier (Wyre Forest) (Con)
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There is a great deal of argument about where the opportunity for UK exporters is. Does my right hon. Friend agree with the prediction that the 10 nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will create a bigger trading bloc and a bigger economic unit than the European Union by 2050, and does she agree that the CPTPP offers the opportunity for countries such as the Kingdom of Thailand, which is not a member, to join in the future? Surely the CPTPP is not about what it is now, but what it will be in the future.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. This deal is thinking about the future. Of course we have a close trading relationship with the European Union, but the fact is that, as a share of global growth, Europe is shrinking and other parts of the world are growing. This is our opportunity to get in early and help shape the rules for this trading bloc.

Richard Graham Portrait Richard Graham (Gloucester) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The Business Secretary is making a powerful case on why accession to the CPTPP will be transformative for our country in so many ways. She alluded to the importance of business with Malaysia. This is not just about trade; it is also about investment. The importance of Malaysian investment over here is symbolised by Brabazon on the edge of Bristol, and by Battersea power station. Does she agree that all those investments will be much more secure under the umbrella of the first ever trade and investment agreement with Malaysia?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I agree with that statement. I would just like to highlight the significant contribution that our trade envoys, including my hon. Friends the Members for Wyre Forest (Mark Garnier), and for Gloucester (Richard Graham), are making to our debate on trade. They are getting out there, bringing business to the United Kingdom, selling all that is great about our country, and making a valuable contribution to trade policy in the UK, and I want to take this opportunity to thank them for all the work they are doing, travelling around the world and banging the drum for British trade.

Liam Byrne Portrait Liam Byrne
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Before the Secretary of State moves off the subject of cars, I want to make an intervention about our trade with Canada, which involves more than £745 million-worth of exports. We currently benefit from tariff-free trade because of the extended accumulation of origin rules. That tariff break will end at the end of March, and because talks have broken down, we face a situation where our car exports are about to be hit by tariffs. Can she tell the House a bit more about how she plans to avoid a tariff war hitting UK car exports at the end of March?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

This is a good opportunity for me to state explicitly that the talks have not broken down. We are having multiple discussions with Canada on cheese, in which we have not come to an agreement. However, the quota that we have under CPTPP with Canada is 16.5 kilotonnes, which is more than the 2 kilotonnes we are selling to Canada at the moment, so we are not particularly concerned about that, although it is disappointing. We have an ongoing rules of origin discussion, and we have an FTA discussion, which I have paused, for reasons that the right hon. Gentleman will know—

Liam Byrne Portrait Liam Byrne
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

indicated dissent.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Well, he should know them, because I believe I referred to them in the Select Committee; I hope he was listening. The point I am making to the Chair of the Select Committee is that trade is dynamic. On some issues that we are negotiating and discussing with our partners, we have differences of opinion; and others are going swimmingly. This is not a reason for us to cast aspersions on our trade relationships with the countries in question.

Joining this partnership will deliver for our manufacturers, but crucially it will also deliver for our globally renowned services sector. The UK is already the world’s second largest exporter of services, behind only the US, and services exports are at record levels. CPTPP, with its modern and ambitious rules on services and digital trade, plays to the UK’s strengths, given that almost 80% of our economy is services-based. It will reduce market access barriers, such as data localisation requirements; British businesses will not have to set up costly servers or data centres in each member country, and that will save them significant time, money and other resources. This agreement will help flagship British businesses such as Standard Chartered and BT to gain smoother access to markets in Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia, strengthening our trade with those nations for years to come.

We also have a ratchet mechanism for the first time with Malaysia, Chile, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, Brunei and Vietnam, meaning that if those countries relax rules for a particular service, restrictions cannot then be reintroduced in future. That is another clear example of how this agreement will unlock smoother, simpler trade. The director general of the Institute of Export and International Trade, Marco Forgione, has rightly said:

“This is all good news for UK businesses, giving them greater access to one of the fastest growing regions in the world”.

The issue is not just the benefits that joining this partnership will bring over the short term. This is a growing agreement, designed to expand and bring in more markets and more opportunities for UK businesses in the long run. As the first acceding country, we will be ideally placed to take advantage of that future growth.

Martin Vickers Portrait Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes) (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I welcome our accession to CPTPP, which I think will be of great national benefit, but understandably Members across the House will look to businesses in their constituency. The Secretary of State is well aware that many businesses in my constituency in the Humber region are focused on the energy sector, particularly renewable energy. Does she see any great advantages for them?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

There are multiple advantages that will accrue to my hon. Friend’s constituency. I do not specifically have figures for the energy sector, but I do have good news relating to Yorkshire and the Humber: 465 businesses are already exporting to Malaysia from Yorkshire and the Humber, and CPTPP will help to boost that region’s economy by around £210 million in the long run. In 2022, Yorkshire and the Humber exported £1.3 billion-worth of goods to CPTPP. Within five years, tariffs of up to 30% will be eliminated on UK exports of machinery to Malaysia, cutting costs for businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber. We will reduce tariffs and non-tariff barriers, which could mean many more companies—such as the jukebox manufacturer Sound Leisure, which already exports to five CPTPP countries—being able to enter more dynamic markets.

The Chair of the Select Committee, the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Liam Byrne), raised questions about China, and I promised to address them. On China’s application to accede to the agreement, which I know many hon. Members are interested in, let me first say that there are six economies with applications to join the group—China, Taiwan, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Ukraine—and more may apply. Members have not yet made any decisions on which economies will accede in future.

Every applicant must fulfil three essential criteria, called the Auckland principles, to join the group. First, they must be able to meet the high standards of the agreement. Secondly, they must have a track record of compliance with existing trade commitments. Thirdly, and crucially, they must command a consensus of the whole group. These are strong criteria, and they make it clear that working as a bloc is vital. The purpose of this partnership is to be a growing trade bloc, and we share that ambition. We want this agreement to grow, but our accession has set a clear precedent for those that follow. The robust process that the UK has been through has only reinforced the high standards that the partnership seeks to promote, and it has proved that the bar is not easy to meet.

Ranil Jayawardena Portrait Mr Jayawardena
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Does that not prove that by being positive and seeking to engage with partners around the world, we can shape this trade area in line with our geostrategic and trade interests?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Yes, it absolutely does. That is one of the ways that we are able to increase UK influence across the world, not just in Europe or near neighbouring countries. My right hon. Friend is absolutely right on that.

Chi Onwurah Portrait Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central) (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The Secretary of State talks about free and fair trade and about high standards, but there is nothing on labour rights in this CPTPP deal. Is that because she does not care about labour rights? Does she not think it matters whether UK businesses and workers have to compete with those producing products and services in circumstances where there are no trade union rights and no health and safety rights, for example? Is it because she does not care about labour rights, or because she was unable to negotiate anything?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I think the hon. Lady might be confusing the contents of the Bill with the text of the agreement. The text of the agreement is on gov.uk, and she will find a chapter there that covers labour rights.

I turn briefly to the Bill. It is technical in nature, but in enabling us to comply with the provisions of the deal, it is crucial to unlocking the benefits I have described. First, the Bill will ensure that the UK’s domestic procurement regime is compliant with the partnership’s rules, and it will give effect to the UK’s market access commitments to CPTPP suppliers. This small change will deliver big benefits for British businesses, allowing them to compete for contracts in Canada, Japan and Peru that go beyond our existing agreements. It will also mark the UK’s first ever trade agreement with Malaysia and Brunei that contains Government procurement provisions, and will create entirely new access opportunities for UK businesses. The Bill will also allow conformity assessment bodies established in parties’ territories to apply for approval in the UK. This will mirror the treatment that UK conformity assessment bodies will receive from CPTPP parties, which would reduce costs for UK businesses.

The Bill will amend domestic law so that, in relation to agrifoods only, an application to register a geographical indicator can be opposed on the ground that it is likely to cause confusion with a pre-existing trademark or application for a trademark. The Bill will also introduce the ability to cancel a registered agrifood GI on the ground that, at the time the GI was applied for, it was likely to cause confusion with a pre-existing trademark or application for a trademark, or because it is a generic term.

Finally, the Bill brings our approach to copyright in line with the CPTPP by amending the basis on which foreign performers, such as musicians, can qualify for rights in the UK.

In sum, the implementation of the Bill is essential for the UK to meet its obligations upon accession to the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership. The agreement offers significant benefits to UK businesses and consumers, by lowering tariffs, driving up trade and giving us access to the markets that will be front and centre of the global economy for the next quarter century. It is right that we seize the many opportunities that the partnership will bring, which is why I commend this Bill to the House.

--- Later in debate ---
Gareth Thomas Portrait Gareth Thomas
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I welcome my hon. Friend’s call for clarity from the Secretary of State, because the collapse of these talks leaves our exporters to Canada worse off than when we were in Europe. There has been no deal with the US, no deal by Diwali with India, no courage to do a veterinary agreement with the EU, and now this failure by Ministers.

Greg Hands Portrait The Minister for Trade Policy (Greg Hands)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I welcome the hon. Gentleman’s enthusiasm for the Canada agreement, but can he explain why, on 8 February 2017, he voted against the UK doing a deal with Canada in the first place?

Gareth Thomas Portrait Gareth Thomas
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The right hon. Gentleman has some gall asking that question, bearing in mind that, during parliamentary consideration of the Trade Act 2021, he promised to negotiate a better agreement with the EU. Now we find ourselves having worse terms of trade with Canada than we had when we were in the EU.

It is striking, too, that one issue that bedevilled those discussions on the EU-Canada deal is now supported by Conservative Members. The Secretary of State specifically sought to avoid investor-state dispute settlement provisions in the bilateral deal with Canada that has now collapsed. We raised those concerns at the time.

This Bill and our accession to CPTPP will not make up for the tens of millions of pounds of extra costs that manufacturers and the car industry will face when exporting to Canada due to the loss of EU cumulation rights and the higher tariffs that will result from April. This Bill will also not be much help for dairy businesses that export to Canada. Cheese exporters are now facing tariffs of 245%, because Ministers were too late to try to stop the loss of a vital quota for tariff rate reductions. Ministers had to be woken up to this issue by questions from the Opposition.

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Gareth Thomas Portrait Gareth Thomas
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

As the hon. Gentleman knows, other evidence was given to the Select Committee that underlined the likely loss to farmers and the agriculture sector in general. I will be happy to send him the note from that Select Committee.

There are questions about the intellectual property section of the Bill. There are wider concerns that Britain has been forced to be a rule-taker on the use of secret courts, that there are poor environmental and labour rights provisions and, crucially, that Ministers have no plan to help British business capitalise on this deal. Given the Government’s woeful performance on economic growth, the recent huge increases in barriers to trade and the cuts in support for exporters, we are pleased about any measures that help our exporters even a fraction.

The Secretary of State did not own up to it but, for the foreseeable future, this trade deal will have, at best, a minor impact on our terms of trade. There are trade benefits to membership, notably in the rules of origin provisions and in trade with Malaysia and Brunei, and there is longer-term potential if CPTPP becomes a deeper or more extensive trade bloc. In geopolitical terms, the closer ties with allies in the Indo-Pacific that CPTPP ushers in are welcome in these increasingly uncertain times.

Unfortunately, rational debate about these opportunities and trade-offs has been hampered by some of the more extravagant and exaggerated claims made by Conservative Members for the benefits of CPTPP membership. It was set to offer “unparalleled opportunities” for the UK. It was going to be a “glittering post-Brexit prize”. The Secretary of State has even done her own bit for such boosterism, with her Department claiming last year that all that is needed is for the US and half the rest of the world to join, and then there would be an extra £21 billion for the UK. I enjoyed “Wonka”, but I did not expect to find that level of fantasy preparing for this debate.

According to the Government’s own figures, this trade treaty was only ever going to deliver a 0.08% increase in economic growth over 10 years. It is nice to have, particularly given the mess that the Government are making of the economy, but now even the limited trade benefits they promised us have been cut in half.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The hon. Gentleman references my Department’s trade figures. These are modelling forecasts based on old figures that did not count the dynamic effects of trade agreements. They are completely out of date. They were done well before the agreement had even been negotiated, so they should not be used as a basis for deciding how this agreement will do.

Gareth Thomas Portrait Gareth Thomas
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

One set of figures the Secretary of State’s Department definitely did not put together were those that the Office for Budget Responsibility produced. It now expects only a 0.04% increase in our economic growth, after a decade, from joining CPTPP. As we already have free trade agreements in place with nine of the other 11 CPTPP members, formally joining CPTPP feels rather thin compensation for Ministers’ many other failures on trade.

--- Later in debate ---
Greg Hands Portrait The Minister for Trade Policy (Greg Hands)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

It is a pleasure to reply to what has been a wide-ranging and often well-informed debate. The Bill’s passage will enable the UK to meet international obligations on accession to the CPTPP, thereby unlocking the next chapter in the country’s proud tradition of trading freely with the world. Acting as a gateway to growth, the agreement will place the UK at the centre of a vast free trade area currently comprising 11 sovereign countries. For UK consumers, reductions in tariffs could lead to cheaper imports, better choice and higher quality products, all while protections in critical areas are maintained. With more than 99% of current goods exports to CPTPP parties being eligible for zero tariffs, businesses in every corner of the UK stand to benefit.

Dan Carden Portrait Dan Carden (Liverpool, Walton) (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I will lightly sidestep the party political debate. As the Minister knows, my interest is in Mexico—I have chaired the all-party parliamentary group on Mexico for five years, and am now proudly the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Mexico—which is the world’s 16th largest economy and will be the ninth largest by 2030. That offers great opportunities, not least for my region, the north-west, which trades more with Mexico than any other region. Plenty of labour rights are included in the CPTPP; the question is how they will be enforced. For instance, every party to the CPTPP holds obligations under the International Labour Organisation. The question is how we trade more as well as raise protections through the CPTPP.

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thought for a moment that the hon. Member was going to verge off into football. I was going to congratulate him on his constituency team, Liverpool, beating Fulham last week. In any case, I thank him. He was recently appointed the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Mexico, which is a really important position. In general, Mexico presents a great opportunity. Our rolled-over trade deal with Mexico dates from a long time ago—about 2002-03.

The hon. Member will know that the CPTPP includes a comprehensive chapter on labour, with binding provisions on fundamental labour rights, minimum wage, hours of work and health and safety. All parties to the CPTPP are members of the ILO, and they are not allowed to derogate from their domestic labour laws to give them an unfair trade advantage. That is how the labour chapter in the CPTPP works. I look forward to discussions with him, and to doing everything we can to work together to boost trade with Mexico.

Before I extoll the benefits of the agreement still further, I will say that it is a pleasure to be back at the Department, and to see the further progress being made tonight towards the UK being the 12th party to the CPTPP. This is a tremendously exciting moment for both the UK and global trade policy—one that the Department and I personally have been building towards for many years. Back in about 2017, one of the earliest decisions in the Department under the then Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset (Sir Liam Fox), was to explore accession to the trans-Pacific partnership, as the CPTPP was then known.

Richard Graham Portrait Richard Graham
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

May I pay tribute to my right hon. Friend for the work that he has done, both on this arrangement in general, and more specifically in promoting our mutual trade and investment agreements with nations in Asia? It is the 67th year of Malaysian independence; this is the first trade and investment agreement that we have ever had with that very encouraging far-eastern nation, with which we can develop a great and stronger relationship. Does he agree?

--- Later in debate ---
Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My hon. Friend is quite right. Of course, successive Secretaries of State have pursued that relationship, including the current Secretary of State, who is personally obviously very committed. I think that I have made two visits to Malaysia in my time as Trade Minister, and we are really excited about having a better trade relationship with Malaysia.

It seemed a logical move to join the CPTPP, as it included many of our global free trading cohort, including Japan, Australia and New Zealand, but it did not have the controversial aspects of free trade zones in Europe, such as free movement, financial contributions and dynamic alignment of rules. As the Secretary of State said, the agreement will grow. Joining the CPTPP will be great news for the UK as an independent trading nation, and for UK goods and services exporters. They include beverage producers in Scotland—I did not hear the SNP extolling that virtue—machinery manufacturers in Wales, and car manufacturers in Northern Ireland and the west midlands.

According to 2022 data, the UK is the world’s second largest services exporter—a point also raised by my hon. Friends on the Government Benches. Joining the CPTPP will help minimise unnecessary data flow barriers, empower UK services exporters and encourage inward financial investment—a point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mark Pawsey). Overall, it will provide us with a new presence in the wider Indo-Pacific region—a region of paramount geopolitical and economic importance, and one that is expected to account for 54% of global economic growth by 2050.

I warmly welcome the constructive comments made and the support from sectors across the country. In her opening speech, the Secretary of State quoted the president of the National Farmers Union and the director-general of the Institute of Export and International Trade. I would like to add just one more quote, from the Federation of Small Businesses. We had an intervention earlier about SMEs; the FSB said that it is

“very pleased to see the UK officially join”.

In FSB research, 45% of small exporters said that access to this market will be important for future growth.

Today we have heard a number of important points raised, and I will try to answer as many as possible in the time available. I remind the House of the specific purpose of the Bill: to enable the implementation of aspects of the CPTPP when the UK accedes, specifically relating to chapters on intellectual property, Government procurement and technical barriers to trade.

First of all, we heard from the hon. Member for Harrow West (Gareth Thomas), who gave us his familiar explication of how we are not doing enough trade deals, even though he has voted against every single one of the deals that we have done. We heard about his attitude to Canada, and his faux outrage about the idea that there might be a weakening in the existing trade deal with Canada. We heard that from the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill (Liam Byrne) and the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Stella Creasy). They also said that the Government are letting down people by not having an effective continuation of the Canada trade deal. We can differ on that, but the difference in the case of the hon. Member for Harrow West is that he voted against the Canada trade deal in the first place. He is now taking time to complain about the weakening of an agreement that he did not support from the very off.

On China, the hon. Member for Harrow West has been reminded about the Auckland principles, and that all countries acceding to the CPTPP must accede to the high standards of the agreement, have a history of conforming with trade agreements and command the consensus of the parties. The investor-state dispute settlement, which was also raised by the right hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell), is in the agreement, but I remind the House that the UK has never lost a case. The right hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington called it hubristic to mention that, but it is a fact, and the agreement never prevents the right to regulate. On performers’ rights, raised by the hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Sarah Green), the CPTPP is an existing agreement, and changes will have to be made.

John McDonnell Portrait John McDonnell
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I have made this point on previous occasions, but I just want to understand the logic of the Government’s position of allowing the ISDS in this particular deal, but trying to avoid it in the free trade agreement with Canada.

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

These are all matters for negotiation. What happens in one negotiation will not always be the same as what happens in another; it is impossible to compare them. I can say that we already have ISDS provisions with seven of the 11 CPTPP members.

John McDonnell Portrait John McDonnell
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Will the Minister give way?

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I will not, because I am trying to respond to the right hon. Gentleman’s earlier points. On performers’ rights, raised by the hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham, we expect the practical impact to be small. The Intellectual Property Office is carrying out a consultation on how the provisions will be implemented.

My hon. Friend the Member for Totnes (Anthony Mangnall) made a characteristically upbeat and excellent speech, pointing out that the region has £12 trillion in GDP, how the UK will be—and is—at the forefront of global trade, and how the deal will make no alteration to our standards.

From the SNP spokesperson, the hon. Member for Gordon (Richard Thomson), we heard a familiar tale of woe. He failed to stick up for Scotland and to point out all the trade benefits for Scotland. He said that he has been against every single UK trade deal, and that is correct, but he failed to mention that he has also been against every single EU trade deal that has ever been negotiated. He wishes to rejoin the EU and be subject to those very trade deals that he spent years campaigning against. He was against the Canada deal, the South Africa deal, the Japan deal, the Singapore deal and the Korea deal.

The hon. Member failed to mention the particular benefits to Scotland. He was wrong when he said that the GDP increase is £2 billion—it is £2 billion per annum. Then, he went down an extraordinary road of talking about eggs. Ninety per cent. of our egg consumption comes from domestic production. All eggs are subject to sanitary and phytosanitary checks, and from Wednesday, EU eggs will be, too, under the border target operating model. We have imported hardly any eggs at all from CPTPP countries since 2015. I think he mentioned eggs from Mexico, but there has been not a single import of an egg from Mexico since 2005. This is the most extraordinary scaremongering. The Trade and Agriculture Commission said:

“we found it was unlikely that eggs from CPTPP parties…would be imported into the UK”.

The hon. Member is sacrificing the interests of those selling Scotch whisky and other high-quality Scottish produce by starting scare stories about the importation of eggs, which are not coming to this country. He mentioned workers’ rights; I have already said that there is a comprehensive labour chapter.

The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hodge Hill, made a constructive speech. He said that the deal was good for farmers, good for whisky and had a good digital chapter. He is right that we are doing more trade deals— we are going further with Switzerland, Turkey, South Korea and others. He is right on the scale of the CPTPP and growth. On pesticides, there is no change to our right to regulate or to our import standards. We set the maximum limits on pesticides—there is no change to that.

The hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham said that we already have deals with nine of the 11 members. Well, it depends on what is in the deal. As I pointed out in response to the intervention from the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Dan Carden), the existing deal with Mexico is very old—it goes back more than 20 years. The CPTPP is a very modern deal. We can get a lot more done with a very modern deal than with a deal that is many decades old. She complained about the lack of parliamentary scrutiny. There have been two oral statements, 16 written ministerial statements, and Ministers and officials have appeared before five Select Committees to give evidence on the CPTPP. That is a lot of parliamentary scrutiny over the years. On palm oil, the TAC said that it is unlikely that the CPTPP will lead to an increase in palm oil being grown on deforested land. We have had impact assessments galore, but I am happy to look at the public health assessment mentioned by the right hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington.

Finally, we heard a speech from the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Sarah Dyke), which was alarmist in its impact on farmers. The NFU supports the agreement. She described the “toxic tendrils” of the deal, and even blamed “insipid sandwiches” on this Tory Government. There are many things that I am not quite sure can be blamed on any Government, and the quality of sandwiches is going too far. She started verging into what sounded a little like conspiracy theories.

The Bill is the next step in the creation of the outward-looking and internationalist UK that we envisage for our country’s future. Through the UK’s accession to the CPTPP, the Government will place the UK at the centre of a modern, progressive and values-based partnership that spans the Americas and Asia, and which other economies are queueing up to join. It is the gateway to new business opportunities and greater consumer choice benefits that will be felt in every corner of the UK. While the legislation may be narrow, it is crucial to the UK’s ability to accede to the CPTPP. I therefore commend the Bill to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [Lords] (Programme)

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 83A(7)),

That the following provisions shall apply to the Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [Lords]:

Committal

(1) The Bill shall be committed to a Public Bill Committee.

Proceedings in Public Bill Committee

(2) Proceedings in the Public Bill Committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion on Thursday 22 February 2024.

(3) The Public Bill Committee shall have leave to sit twice on the first day on which it meets.

Consideration and Third Reading

(4) Proceedings on Consideration shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour before the moment of interruption on the day on which those proceedings are commenced.

(5) Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption on that day.

(6) Standing Order No. 83B (Programming committees) shall not apply to proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading.

Other proceedings

(7) Any other proceedings on the Bill may be programmed.—(Robert Largan.)

Question agreed to.

Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [ Lords ] (First sitting)

(Limited Text - Ministerial Extracts only)

Read Full debate

This text is a record of ministerial contributions to a debate held as part of the Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Act 2024 passage through Parliament.

In 1993, the House of Lords Pepper vs. Hart decision provided that statements made by Government Ministers may be taken as illustrative of legislative intent as to the interpretation of law.

This extract highlights statements made by Government Ministers along with contextual remarks by other members. The full debate can be read here

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Greg Hands Portrait The Minister for Trade Policy (Greg Hands)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

May I welcome you to the Chair, Mr Davies, and welcome all members to this Committee for line-by-line consideration of this important Bill? Over 40 extraordinary minutes, we have heard an attempt by the Labour Front Bench to reopen the Second Reading debate, but I will try to answer the questions put to me.

Clause 1 is a non-controversial clause that defines the terms used in the Bill. “The CPTPP” means the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership signed at Santiago on 8 March 2018, including the UK accession protocol as it has effect in the United Kingdom from time to time. “The UK accession protocol” means the protocol on the accession of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the CPTPP, signed at Auckland and Bandar Seri Begawan on 16 July 2023.

We heard on Second Reading that the official Labour party position is to support the accession of the United Kingdom to the CPTPP, but over the past 40 minutes we have heard a series of speeches that give the opposite impression. That is often the case in today’s Labour party: there is a diktat from the right hon. and learned Member for Holborn and St Pancras (Keir Starmer) up above, but below him something different is done, particularly by Members who were active when the right hon. Member for Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn) was the party leader. The hon. Member for Harrow West reminded us of his time on the Trade Bill Committee, when he was opposed to all UK trade agreements. Without myself embarking on a Second Reading speech, I wonder how much of that dichotomy is still there in today’s Labour party.

Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi Portrait Mr Dhesi
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I caution the Minister that there is no dichotomy here. As we said in the Chamber on Second Reading, although we are in favour of acceding to the CPTPP, the job of His Majesty’s Opposition is to go through the Bill line by line and point out the various anomalies, issues and concerns—not just our own, but those of movements including the Trades Union Congress and other voluntary and civil society organisations. Otherwise, we would be heading towards another car crash. Given that the governing party has managed to crash the economy, does the Minister agree that we need safeguards from the Opposition?

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the hon. Gentleman for drawing attention to the fact that this is all about line-by-line scrutiny. I certainly welcome that, if it is indeed the approach that he will be taking. None the less, I feel that I should answer the questions that he and the hon. Member for Harrow West have raised.

Having been an Opposition Front-Bench spokesperson myself, I should point out that the way a Bill Committee generally works is that Members table amendments about things they wish to speak about, rather than seeking on clause 1 to shoehorn in all kinds of additional questions and issues on which they have not tabled amendments. The Labour party has been in opposition for some time now—close to 14 years—and one might have thought that it would have learned some lessons about how to be a more effective Opposition. None the less, I will respond to the questions in the spirit in which they were asked.

The first question was about Canada. Of course, the hon. Member for Harrow West was a frequent rebel when it came to the UK and EU trade agreement with Canada, so he has a bit of form here. He said that there is an important roll-over of the rules of origin, and he is absolutely right, but what he did not tell us is that he opposed those rules of origin in the first place when the comprehensive economic and trade agreement was passed in this very Committee Room seven years ago. It is a bit rich for him now to say that something is important today when he was one of a small minority of Labour Front Benchers who opposed it.

Gareth Thomas Portrait Gareth Thomas
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Will the Minister give way?

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
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Of course, if the hon. Gentleman is going to explain whether he has changed his mind. Is he still opposed to CETA? I am sure he is going to tell us.

Gareth Thomas Portrait Gareth Thomas
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

First, I thank the Minister for describing me as a frequent rebel. I am hugely grateful to him for that characterisation: it will appear on my election leaflets for years to come. He has raised my vote on CETA many times, and I suspect he will do so many times in future; I do hope so. I gently make the point that he promised us he would help to negotiate a better deal with Canada, but he has not done so. In fact, we have worse terms of trade with Canada than when we were in the EU .

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I do not think that this is the time to discuss the whole future and present of our overall trading relations with Canada, but I gently remind the hon. Gentleman that he has form on this. We remain open to restarting the bilateral talks; of course, that rolled-over agreement remains in place and nothing has been undone by the pause on the bilateral talks. We continue to work with Canada on its CPTPP ratification.

The hon. Member for Harrow West called for an urgent debate—we support having one, if parliamentary time can be found—under the CRaG process. I think he has grown to dislike the CRaG process, but I point out that he is one of the few members of this Committee who voted in favour of the process back in 2010.

Gareth Thomas Portrait Gareth Thomas
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I well understand the Minister wanting to reach for a piece of Labour legislation for comfort in the difficult circumstances of this particular Bill. I gently point out to him, however, that we have now left the European Union, which the CRaG process, when put into legislation, assumed we would continue to be a part of. I therefore gently suggest that we need to update the scrutiny processes. The Minister appears to be one of the last people on the Government Benches who is opposed to improving parliamentary scrutiny. With an election coming, given that he might be sitting on the Opposition Benches—if he survives—he should appreciate better scrutiny arrangements. Perhaps he is willing to seek the advice of the hon. Member for Totnes on how scrutiny arrangements might be improved.

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The hon. Gentleman and I were in Parliament—as you were, Mr Davies—when CRaG was passed, and it was not dependent on or linked to the UK’s membership of the European Union. It was a process for the parliamentary ratification of all international treaties. I gently remind the hon. Gentleman of that.

I am glad that the hon. Gentleman mentions parliamentary scrutiny, because I have looked back through the annals of time. As the Committee may know, I have been closely involved with CPTPP for a long time—since I first became Minister of State with responsibility for international trade back in 2016. I checked back on the parliamentary scrutiny that we have had over the years, as I was specifically asked to.

In June 2021, we published our negotiation objectives. We have provided regular updates to Parliament on CPTPP: two oral statements and, extraordinarily, 16 written ministerial statements. I do not think that there has been a lack of parliamentary scrutiny. Ministers and the chief negotiator have appeared before five separate Select Committees to discuss CPTPP and to answer questions about it. We had the Trade and Agriculture Commission’s report in December 2023 and the section 42 report in January 2024, and the CRaG process has now started. There has been no shortage of parliamentary scrutiny.

The hon. Member for Harrow West asked about future membership. I will not be drawn on that subject, but I refer him to the Auckland principles; he can check out what those are all about. Had he really wanted to talk about future membership, he could have tabled an amendment. I will certainly look at the RSPCA concerns, but, again, he has not tabled an amendment on them.

As for the Select Committee, the hon. Gentleman has been trying to get it to do his job for him. He cited a recommendation from the Select Committee that we have a fresh impact assessment, but I note that that is not a recommendation on which he himself has tabled an amendment. Had he done his homework over the past couple of weeks, he need not have made a speech today covering all kinds of new areas on which he has failed to table an amendment.

As for ISDS and palm oil, we will come on to debate them with new clauses 5 and 1. I think the hon. Gentleman floated something about a Eurotunnel case from many years ago; if he wants to give some detail on that, he can write to me as to what that may have all been about. Of course, it may well have been in his own time as Trade Minister under the last Labour Government.

Gareth Thomas Portrait Gareth Thomas
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

On the Eurotunnel question, the Minister might like to check with Lord Johnson, because he seemed to know a little bit more about the case than the Minister appears to. Perhaps when the Minister goes back to his Department he might seek out his noble Friend and get some background from him.

The problem with ISDS, particularly in the Eurotunnel case, is that War on Want had to table a freedom of information request to find out what had happened. That level of secrecy is one of the problems with ISDS. As the Minister has access to those records, it would be useful if he published or made clear what happened in that case. That would help us, as a country, to learn how we might avoid such claims in future.

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
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Again, if the hon. Gentleman had wished to debate that, he might have tabled an amendment on it. Maybe he will do so later in the Bill’s passage.

Gareth Thomas Portrait Gareth Thomas
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

On a point of order, Mr Davies. I gently ask whether you might draw the Minister’s attention to new clause 5, which is specifically about ISDS.

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None Portrait The Chair
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As the hon. Gentleman knows, that was not a point of order. I should say that he was leading with his chin by pointing that out, because his remarks should have been confined to our debate on new clause 5.

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

In conclusion, I urge that this short, technical and non-controversial clause stand part of the Bill.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 2

Treatment of conformity assessment bodies etc

Gareth Thomas Portrait Gareth Thomas
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I beg to move amendment 1, in clause 2, page 1, line 19, leave out from “subject to” to the end of the subsection and insert

“approval by resolution of each House of Parliament”.

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Gareth Thomas Portrait Gareth Thomas
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I welcome my hon. Friend’s intervention and the experience of working in the Welsh Government that she brings to our considerations. It is striking that the Welsh Government raised a series of concerns, which they felt the Government had not addressed properly. For example, they noted that consultation with the Government had been mixed; at various times, it had been quite poor and had got better. In the last few weeks, before accession was announced, it had deteriorated again. I suspect that is about Ministers not wanting to hear different points of view and challenges to their ideological standpoint. For the benefit of the country, we need to ensure that we move forward together. Surely we are stronger together if we have better consultation and parliamentary scrutiny. On that basis, I look forward to hearing the Minister’s response.

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the hon. Members for Harrow West, for Slough and for City of Chester for tabling the amendments in the group. Again, I noticed that the greater part of the speech by the hon. Member for Harrow West was about things that were not actually in the amendment. I gently remind Members that he perhaps used AI to help him to table his amendments in the first place—in which case he shows some of the limitations of following a slavish approach when it comes to artificial intelligence. None the less, I will speak to the amendments before us.

First, I will briefly outline clause 2 and conformity assessment bodies. To comply with the requirement on our accession, we need to change some of the UK’s subordinate legislation, which requires conformity assessment bodies to be established in this country or in countries with which the UK has a mutual recognition agreement. The legislative changes do not alter the regulatory requirements for products entering this country—that is really important to understand. Any overseas conformity assessment bodies approved by the UK will carry out assessment against regulations that apply in this country, not those regulations applying in the CPTPP party in which they are established.

The changes do not mean that conformity assessment bodies established in other CPTPP parties’ territories will gain automatic approval. Instead, all CPTPP-based conformity assessment bodies will need to demonstrate that they meet the relevant UK requirements, such as being accredited by the UK’s national accreditation body, UKAS—not as familiar a UKAS as UCAS. The obligation also applies to other parties to the agreement. It is obviously a treaty with multiple countries, which means that UK conformity assessment bodies will be able to apply for approval from CPTPP parties to carry out conformity assessment against their regulations.

Before I mention the term “CPTPP parties” again, I should explain that they are countries that have acceded to the CPTPP. That would allow UK manufacturers exporting to CPTPP parties to have their products tested in the UK rather than overseas, which could save our exporters considerable time and money. It also means that UK conformity assessment bodies could enter lucrative new markets with their services, as approximately £10 billion in UK exports to CPTPP parties were covered by conformity assessment procedures in 2021. This clause is necessary to allow the UK to comply with the technical barriers to trade, or TBT, chapter of CPTPP, to meet our international obligations upon accession and to accede to CPTPP.

I will turn first to amendment 1, which concerns the scrutiny of secondary legislation made under the Bill, before speaking to amendment 2, which concerns the devolved Administrations and what it calls “regional government”. Let me emphasise how seriously the Government take their commitment to keep Parliament and the public apprised of the Government’s negotiations for new free trade agreements. I read out a whole series of consultative interactions with Parliament that have happened during our commitment for the UK to accede to CPTPP. Let me be clear that amendment 1 would mean a vote not on the agreement—which we worked hard to keep Parliament informed of through various debates, ministerial statements and Select Committee appearances—but on the secondary legislation regarding the implementation of the trade agreement. Parliament now has the opportunity to formally scrutinise the UK’s accession protocol to the CPTPP through the usual procedure under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act, or CRaG. The Secretary of State has also written to the Leader of the House to request a general debate during the sitting days of CRaG. CRaG, which commenced yesterday, is the main avenue for scrutiny of this deal, not specific secondary legislation made under the power in this Bill.

Anthony Mangnall Portrait Anthony Mangnall
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I apologise for interrupting the Minister, but I think it is important, as a member of the Business and Trade Committee, to say how far we have come in the scrutiny of trade agreements. When the Secretary of State came in front of the Business and Trade Committee recently, she made it clear that we would have the debate that he alluded to during the CRaG’s 21 days and that the House would have a chance to properly scrutinise the trade agreement. I hope that will be the form for all future agreements.

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I welcome my hon. Friend’s intervention. Of course, it is not entirely within my gift to ensure that that debate takes place. That will be down to the business managers and the usual channels, as is usual for scheduling parliamentary business. However, I welcome his recognition of how much extra effort the Government have put into ensuring parliamentary scrutiny—earlier I mentioned the 16 written ministerial statements and appearances between before five different Select Committees.

On the secondary legislation in question, the power in clause 2 would ensure that conformity assessment bodies established in CPTPP party territories will be treated no less favourably than ones located in the UK in relation to conformity assessments for products supplied in this country, pursuant to article 8.6 of CPTPP. This is a narrow power that is designed to make minor technical amendments to existing secondary legislation and some assimilated law.

The negative procedure is reasonable and appropriate for such amendments. That is a position supported by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, or DPRRC—the experts in this area, at least from a parliamentary perspective. It indicated that there was nothing in the Bill to which it wished to draw the House’s attention. The powers in the Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Act 2023 were similarly subject to the negative procedure, and the DPRRC raised no concerns in relation to the delegated powers in that Act either.

Amendment 2 deals with consultation on the treatment of conformity assessment bodies under clause 2. I am grateful to hon. Members for the opportunity to discuss the important issues raised by this amendment. The breadth of modern free trade agreements means that some policy issues will fall within the competence of devolved Administrations. It has been clear from the inception of the UK’s independent trade policy—as indeed it was when we were members of the European Union—that aspects of trade policy would impinge on areas that were within the devolved competence of the nations, agriculture being the most obvious example. That is why my Department has established a significant programme of engagement with the devolved Administrations. I meet quarterly with the Ministers in a ministerial forum for trade, for example, and our officials speak all the time.

However, it is vital for the UK’s ability to meet its commitments under CPTPP that CPTPP and protocol obligations should be implemented in the UK. Adding a consultation requirement before secondary legislation can be made pursuant to clause 2 could delay ratification of the agreement. Going back to earlier comments, I am never entirely sure whether Opposition Front Benchers are in favour of this agreement. They keep trying to introduce new ways to delay ratification, which makes me suspect that, when it comes to it, rather a lot of them do not. If implementing legislation is not in place, the UK would be in breach of CPTPP on day one of entry into force of the accession protocol, as the UK would not be in compliance with the terms of CPTPP.

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Division 1

Ayes: 7


Labour: 6
Scottish National Party: 1

Noes: 10


Conservative: 10

Amendment proposed: 2, in clause 2, page 2, line 2, at end insert—
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Division 2

Ayes: 7


Labour: 6
Scottish National Party: 1

Noes: 10


Conservative: 10

Clause 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
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None Portrait The Chair
- Hansard -

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

The schedule.

New clause 1—Assessment of the impact of the CPTPP Chapter on government procurement–environment

“The Secretary of State must, within three years of Royal Assent to this Act, lay before Parliament assessments of the impact of the implementation of the CPTPP Chapter on government procurement on—

(a) the Government’s plans to tackle climate change;

(b) the sustainable production of forest risk commodities, including palm oil, within UK supply chains,

(c) deforestation, and

(d) the Government’s environmental targets and environmental improvement plans established under the Environment Act 2021.”

New clause 2—Assessment of the impact of the CPTPP Chapter on government procurement–employment and industry

“The Secretary of State must, within three years of Royal Assent to this Act, lay before Parliament assessments of the impact of the implementation of the CPTPP Chapter on government procurement on—

(a) manufacturing in the United Kingdom;

(b) the job market in the United Kingdom, including but not limited to gender inequality therein;

(c) the level of procurement by local authorities from businesses in their local authority area;

(d) the delivery of public services in the United Kingdom; and

(e) the Government's commitments to the conventions of the International Labour Organisation.”

New clause 7—Impact assessment of implementation of the CPTPP Chapter on Government Procurement on developing country trading partners—

“(1) The Secretary of State must, within 12 months of the passing of this Act and every 12 months thereafter, publish a report on the impact of the implementation of the Government Procurement chapter of the CPTPP on developing country trading partners of the United Kingdom.

(2) The impact assessment under subsection (1) must include an assessment of—

(a) social, environmental, and economic impact on countries with high levels of dependence on the UK market;

(b) steps that have been taken to consult with affected trading partners;

(c) proposed remediation measures for potential economic damage;

(d) how the experience and impact of implementation might inform negotiation of future trade agreements.”

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Clause 3 is vital to ensure that we bring procurement legislation into compliance with the Government procurement chapter of CPTPP to ensure that the UK is ready to accede. Clause 3 and, accordingly, the schedule amend domestic procurement legislation, namely the existing procurement regulations that regulate procurement and the Procurement Act 2023, which will regulate procurement for England, Wales and Northern Ireland when that Act substantively commences in October 2024. Those amendments extend the UK’s market access obligations to suppliers from CPTPP parties and introduce two minor technical measures, which will ensure full implementation of the requirements of the Government procurement chapter of CPTPP. Joining CPTPP will build on the existing comprehensive agreements that the UK has with most parties by providing UK businesses with even greater legally guaranteed access to opportunities in their Government procurement markets in several areas.

Samantha Dixon Portrait Samantha Dixon (City of Chester) (Lab)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Davies. I ask for your indulgence and that of hon. Members as this is my first Bill Committee since my election in December 2022.

New clause 1 focuses on the environmental impact of the Bill and aims to keep the Government accountable for their plans to tackle climate change—something we should all be mindful of at this time. It is important to seek further clarification on the environmental impact of the CPTPP agreement and how the Government intend to mitigate detrimental environmental impacts of the UK’s accession to the bloc.

Around 90% of the world’s oil palm trees are grown on a few islands in Malaysia and Indonesia, and just 1% of Malaysian palm oil smallholdings are certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. That 1% constitutes around 40% of all palm oil plantations in Malaysia. When it comes to palm oil, education is key. We continue to see ongoing misconceptions around sustainable palm oil. Despite 60% of people in the UK knowing about palm oil, a recent Kantar report found that more than 85% did not know about sustainable palm oil, which is an efficient crop with significantly less environmental impact on the land than other vegetable oils. Replacing it with another oil would mean using up to eight times more land for oils such as rapeseed or sunflower. Sustainable palm oil can be beneficial for biodiversity and to protect, conserve and enhance ecosystems. There is still widespread concern about the effect of reduced tariffs, for example, on expanding palm oil imports leading to deforestation. This is a major environmental crisis and it is the second largest contributor to climate change globally after burning fossil fuels.

Nearly 90% of deforestation is attributed to agricultural expansion. The impact of that is not only having an effect on our climate but has resulted in a sharp decline in precious native wildlife such as orangutans, rhinoceroses, hornbills, tigers and elephants, pushing them to the brink of extinction. Indeed, there are now more MPs in Westminster than there are Sumatran tigers on the planet, and deforestation has played a major role in that dreadful statistic.

Trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) Bill [ Lords ] (Second sitting)

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