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

– in the House of Commons am 6:04 pm ar 29 Ionawr 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Second Reading

[Relevant document: Oral evidence taken before the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee on 21 November 2023, on UK trade policy: food and agriculture, HC 162.]

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities 6:08, 29 Ionawr 2024

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.

Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Ceidwadwyr, North East Hampshire

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?

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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.

Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Chair, Business and Trade Committee, Chair, Business and Trade Committee, Chair, Business and Trade Sub-Committee on National Security and Investment, Chair, Business and Trade Sub-Committee on National Security and Investment

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?

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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.

Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Ceidwadwyr, Rugby

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?

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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.

Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Labour/Co-operative, Walthamstow

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?

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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.

Photo of Neil Hudson Neil Hudson Ceidwadwyr, Penrith and The Border

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.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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.

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Shadow Minister (Education)

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?

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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.

Photo of Mark Garnier Mark Garnier Ceidwadwyr, Wyre Forest

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.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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.

Photo of Richard Graham Richard Graham Ceidwadwyr, Gloucester

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?

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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.

Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Chair, Business and Trade Committee, Chair, Business and Trade Committee, Chair, Business and Trade Sub-Committee on National Security and Investment, Chair, Business and Trade Sub-Committee on National Security and Investment

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?

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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—

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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.

Photo of Martin Vickers Martin Vickers Ceidwadwyr, Cleethorpes

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?

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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, 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.

Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Ceidwadwyr, North East Hampshire

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?

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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.

Photo of Chi Onwurah Chi Onwurah Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (Science, Research and Innovation)

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?

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade) 6:30, 29 Ionawr 2024

We support accession to the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership. We have concerns about the Bill and will be seeking additional safeguards, but we will not seek to divide the House this evening.

As my hon. Friend Stella Creasy and my right hon. Friend Liam Byrne, the Chair of the Business and Trade Committee, have said, the Bill is overshadowed by the apparent collapse of bilateral FTA negotiations with Canada, one of CPTPP’s most important members. There has been no statement to the House, and I read the transcript of the Secretary of State’s evidence to the Business and Trade Committee and saw no reference to the collapse of those negotiations. As I understand it, there has not even been a written statement to the House. This is one further sign of the Government’s cavalier approach to trade.

Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Labour/Co-operative, Walthamstow

I thank my hon. Friend for giving way, because this really matters. With £750 million-worth of British car exports at stake, the Canadian Trade Minister, Mary Ng, has said on the record that she is “disappointed” the talks have fallen apart. The Ministers shouting “fake news” need to be clear and honest with the British workers whose jobs are at stake. Does my hon. Friend agree that we need some honesty from the Government? If they think the talks have not fallen apart, can they tell us when they will start again?

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade)

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.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Party Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)

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?

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade)

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 than the EU had. 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.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

I was a guest on the Business and Trade Committee last week, and I specifically raised the issue of cheese. If the hon. Gentleman had been paying attention, he would have heard that our tariff rate quota does not exceed the amount we previously exported. Cheese producers, particularly those in Wensleydale, can therefore sleep well at night.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade)

I do not know what happens in Wensleydale, but I have seen the comments and worries of other cheese exporters. During that Select Committee hearing, the right hon. Gentleman shared the concern of many Opposition Members about ISDS provisions.

The Secretary of State said that negotiations on the loss of EU cumulation rights for our exports of cars and other manufactured goods have not come to an end, but it is difficult to see how her pulling the plug on bilateral discussions with Canada on a new FTA will help to secure those cumulation rights. A trade deal should work for all parts of the country, including farmers, but evidence to the Select Committee made it clear that accession to CPTPP will mean further losses to the agriculture sector and the semi-processed agricultural food sector.

Ministers have been sending signals for some time that they are willing to ignore farmers. The deal with Europe put up huge barriers to trade for British farmers. On the deal with Australia, one of Britain’s own negotiating team said that we

“gave away far too much for far too little”.—[Official Report, 14 November 2022;
Vol. 722, c. 424.]

Now, we have further losses through CPTPP.

Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Ceidwadwyr, Totnes

The hon. Gentleman is being extremely selective about the evidence given to the Business and Trade Committee last week. When the Trade and Agriculture Commission—the statutory body that reviews the trade deals we sign—came before us, it said that membership of CPTPP will have no overall impact on UK farming. Would the hon. Gentleman like to correct the record?

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade)

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.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office), Minister for Women and Equalities, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

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.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade)

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.

Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Chair, Business and Trade Committee, Chair, Business and Trade Committee, Chair, Business and Trade Sub-Committee on National Security and Investment, Chair, Business and Trade Sub-Committee on National Security and Investment

In the light of the news that the figures that have been tabled by the Department are not accurate—I can barely believe it—would my hon. Friend, like me, have expected there to be a new impact assessment alongside the Bill, with the latest departmental assessments set out clearly therein?

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade)

It would have been an excellent idea if the Secretary of State had published those. Perhaps she might be willing to publish them at the same time as giving us a statement about what exactly is going on in the negotiations with Canada. We will have to use the review of CPTPP in 2026 to try to increase more markedly the benefits of membership for British jobs, British consumers and growth.

Photo of Richard Graham Richard Graham Ceidwadwyr, Gloucester

Interestingly, the shadow Minister is trying to have his cake and eat it. He is saying that the Government have made extravagant claims for the importance of CPTPP, while recognising that it will have a useful, modest role. As for the statistics that the Department might produce, does he agree that it would be difficult for the Department to project accurately what might happen over the next 10 years, because a cluster of nations, at least three of them within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, might well apply to join, but we cannot speculate on that in advance? Surely he would agree that the potential of this opportunity represents a decent-sized prize for the UK.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade)

All I say to the hon. Gentleman is that I have recognised that there are benefits to accession, which is why we are not seeking to divide the House tonight, and that I will come on to the issue of potential new countries joining CPTPP in a bit.

The temptation for Ministers to exaggerate the significance of what this Bill ushers in—

Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Ceidwadwyr, North East Hampshire

Given that the hon. Gentleman recognises that there are opportunities from this deal and that, thanks to the success of our continuity agreement programme, we have trade deals with many countries there already, does he not accept that the diagonal cumulation that is part of CPTPP is a huge boost to British businesses, in terms of supply chains?

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade)

As I think the right hon. Gentleman may have heard—perhaps he was not listening—I did acknowledge that one of the benefits that will come from CPTPP accession is better rules of origin. However, I gently say to him that we should not exaggerate the benefits of those, because the benefits are not likely to be that huge. They are important to have, of course, given the economic mess he and other former Ministers helped to create, but those benefits are, none the less, modest.

As I said, the temptation for Ministers to exaggerate the significance of what this Bill ushers in is understandable, given that over the past 10 years Britain has had the worst export record of any member of the G7 apart from Japan. That partly explains why the British people have lower living standards now than they did when Labour left office. It is one reason why the British people have become, on average, £10,000 worse off since 2010 and it is key to why the UK is forecast to have the lowest growth in the G7 this year.

Ministers have published no trade strategy and provided no clarity about how the Bill fits in with wider trade ambitions. They have axed support for businesses to get to trade shows and cut funding for business groups to lead trade missions. There is little obvious planning to help businesses use the limited extra opportunities opened up through this Bill and other trade deals. Sensible policies to improve trade with Europe and cut red tape have been vetoed. Sadly, it is therefore not surprising that the independent OBR now expects our trade to grow by just 0.1% this year and in the next two years—that is a shameful record.

Photo of Matt Western Matt Western Shadow Minister (Education)

When, in a former life, I served on the Select Committee on International Trade, one thing we talked about was giving Parliament greater ability to scrutinise trade deals before they were validated. Does my hon. Friend think that we, in this place, should have more opportunity to scrutinise these deals? As he is describing it, what is being presented today is negligible in its contribution to UK growth, as has been explained.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade)

I share my hon. Friend’s opinion. He aired it during consideration of the Trade Bill a couple of years ago and I hope he might be willing to air it in this Bill’s Committee.

There is little sign either of a plan to ensure that this Bill helps CPTPP accession boost trade in the nations and regions of the UK. The Resolution Foundation published analysis last week showing that, despite all the promises of levelling up, more than 50% of services exports are concentrated in just one region of the UK. Ministers have never been interested in tackling those huge imbalances. Labour Members all remember the broken promises on trade: the “oven ready” Brexit deal; levelling up through trade; and 80% of the world being covered by new trade agreements. One by one, each of those promises that the Conservative party made to the British people have been broken.

No one outside Conservative circles will be surprised that this Bill is not going to lead to a huge boost to economic growth any time soon. The negotiations to join CPTPP were led by the same people who gave Australian farmers everything they wanted, by the same Ministers who boasted about a trade deal with Japan that will help their exporters four times more than ours and which has been championed by the very same Ministers who negotiated a trade treaty with Europe that has hiked up trade barriers, increased the cost of food and generated huge bureaucracy for business.

On the arrangements for scrutiny of this Bill, one would have hoped that Ministers would have learned lessons from previous trade Bills this House has considered, and that scrutiny arrangements before and after negotiations might have improved. We have, at least, not had the spectacle of Trade Ministers at war for a little while or of their failing to turn up to a Select Committee to answer basic questions about trade agreements. I appreciate that Lord Frost is not quite so popular any longer, but when even he can lament, when debating this very Bill in the other place, that scrutiny of trade agreements was better when we were in the European Union, there is clearly some way to go.

That is all the more the case because Ministers appear to be using this Bill to solve an apparent problem with intellectual property treaty rules, which may or may not be linked to CPTPP—the Minister in the Lords did not seem too clear on that; a mere two weeks ago, and only after pressure in the other place, Ministers rushed out a consultation document on this provision of the Bill, which is contained in clause 5 and potentially gives American and other overseas businesses huge sums that would otherwise have helped emerging British artistic talent. That consultation will not be finished until 11 March, and there is absolutely no clue as to when Ministers might have finished considering the responses and deigned to let us all have their thoughts on the way forward.

During bilateral trade negotiations, the Government were widely accused of giving in to the demands of Australian negotiators far too easily, creating dangerous precedents for those wanting to get access to our agricultural markets through other trade deals. It appears that Ministers are in danger of doing something similar with the copyright provisions in this Bill: giving away, when there appears to be no reason to do so, extra rights to receive payments to foreign performers—for example, those in America, which is cited in the consultation document and is not currently a member of CPTPP. That would reduce the earnings of our artists and our businesses here, which could hold back the development of the next generation of British musicians and artists.

Industry figures argue that there is nothing in CPTPP to justify the need to give foreign rights holders and performers payments where they do not currently receive them. If Ministers think those industry voices are wrong, I look forward to the Minister for Trade Policy spelling out, when he winds up, what specifically in CPTPP requires the change. Nothing in the trade deals with Australia or Japan, despite both of them being CPTPP members, required such a legal change then, so why do we need this now? It looks like Ministers are trying to sneak through changes to rules that are, at best, only loosely related to CPTPP by using this legislation instead of a separate and proper process and debate about why such changes are needed.

In winding up the debate, will the Minister explain to the House why changes to the way in which foreign record labels and recording artists qualify for payment rights—changes which, let us be clear, could cost British artists more than £100 million over the next decade, according to the Government’s own figures—are necessary now?

In Committee, we will also want to explore why Ministers have not sought exemptions to the ISDS provisions in the CPTPP as our allies in Australia and New Zealand have done, and as Canada did with the US during the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement negotiations. It is all the more surprising as Ministers were specifically trying to avoid ISDS provisions in the now collapsed UK-Canada FTA negotiations.

There has been a significant increase in legal disputes using ISDS provisions, and a series of cases have had a chilling impact on a range of progressive public policies on environmental issues, labour standards and public services We are yet to hear a convincing explanation from Ministers as to why ISDS is still needed—a point that Anthony Mangnall referenced in relation to the Select Committee meeting next week.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Chair, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

I may have misheard but did the hon. Gentleman just say that the Australia deal was a bad deal for farmers and that it is increasing the cost of food? Australian wine is now certainly cheaper on our shelves, and our biggest food or drink export is Scotch whisky, which always benefits from free trade deals.

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade)

I remember the comments made by the National Farmers Union about the Australia deal, so the right hon. Gentleman may want to look back at those before he rushes to make such an intervention again.

In Committee, we will also explore the further threat to Britain’s steel industry from the possibility of cheap imports of iron and steel from Vietnam, which may actually be produced in China. There has been growing debate about China’s interest in acceding to the CPTPP and its record on human rights. As my noble Friend Lord Collins pointed out, there are no meaningful, enforceable human rights provisions in the treaty. Nothing in law at the moment requires Ministers to allow debate in the House if there is agreement among CPTPP members to support China’s—or any other country’s—accession to the CPTPP. Will Ministers set out how they will ensure transparency over their consideration of new country applications once we are members of the CPTPP?

There continue to be a series of concerns about how environmental issues, such as deforestation, climate change and pesticide use are dealt with through the CPTPP. The Government’s record does not encourage confidence that those issues were close to the forefront of Ministers’ minds during negotiations.

Photo of Matt Rodda Matt Rodda Shadow Minister (AI and Intellectual Property)

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. Does he agree that there is a huge amount of public concern about the way that the Government have been managing environmental issues in their trade negotiations—both in the Australia deal and this one?

Photo of Gareth Thomas Gareth Thomas Shadow Minister (International Trade)

My hon. Friend is right and we hope to pursue those issues in Committee. He would be very welcome to join us in so doing. There are benefits to joining the CPTPP and we support doing so, but there are real concerns as to whether Ministers have got us the best deal possible, which we will revisit in Committee.

Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Ceidwadwyr, Totnes 6:53, 29 Ionawr 2024

I would say that it is pleasure to follow Gareth Thomas, but he is so pessimistic and full of doom and gloom that he makes me think that he is the Goldilocks of international trade. We are always in the same place when we debate these issues with Labour Members, because we cannot sign trade agreements quick enough for them or perhaps we take too long. In fact, we sign trade agreements when they are good for our businesses, our producers and consumers—that is exactly where we must be.

The hon. Gentleman talks about membership of the CPTPP and says that there are no parameters to stop new members, but in her opening remarks the Secretary of State made the point about the Auckland principles and the fact that there has to be a consensual approach to new membership. The Opposition criticise our record on international trade and the agreements we have signed, discounting the fact that we have: an agreement with Australia and New Zealand; three memorandums of understanding with American states; 75 roll-over deals; discussions under way with the Gulf Co-operation Council, Israel and India; and now accession to the CPTPP, if we pass the Bill. The purpose of the Bill is to change our legislative programme to ensure that ratification can take place; that is why we are here and what we are debating.

I am delighted to be a member of the Business and Trade Committee. I welcome that the CPTPP is our accession to the fastest growing region in the world, and that it will give huge geopolitical value to the UK and what we do with our friends and allies around the world. If anyone wants something to send them to sleep, they can read my report, “Looking East”, for the Centre for Policy Studies. We are joining the leading comprehensive free trade agreement, with every forecast pointing to the value that this body will play not just in the next 10 years, but in the next five; we have to recognise those benefits.

As has been said, in nearly every case, forecasts undervalue free trade agreements, not least because of the modelling but also because, as free trade agreements are signed and accessions completed, businesses start to take advantage of the agreements and grow as a result.

Photo of Mark Garnier Mark Garnier Ceidwadwyr, Wyre Forest

My hon. Friend makes a good point. Does he agree that when a previous Committee—of which we were both members—looked at free trade deals, it found that the very fact of doing a trade deal creates an interest that is not otherwise there? It means that everybody talks about the trade opportunity that presents itself.

Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Ceidwadwyr, Totnes

I could not agree with my hon. Friend more. That is exactly the reason that we have trade envoys—in his case, he goes to Thailand to enhance the relationship between Thai and UK businesses. It is also for that exact reason that the first line of the gov.uk webpage on CPTPP says: “We will help businesses take advantage of CPTPP. Please keep logging on so you can see how we can help you to take advantage.” Far from stepping back and not helping businesses, we are on the front foot in ensuring that we can support them.

I want to make a couple of points about what I have learned, first on the International Trade Committee and now on the Business and Trade Committee. It is always important for the House to have a say, and to have a debate on the full terms of our free trade agreements. Under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, we have 21 sitting days to be able to debate the CPTPP. The Secretary of State appeared before the Business and Trade Committee last week. I hope that we can have a debate, because it is important for all Members of the House to be able to look at the many benefits that the CPTPP will bring them, and their constituents, producers and consumers, and for those benefits to be highlighted on the Floor of the House. CRaG also provides for a voteable motion, which has not been used since its introduction; and it would be useful to have vocal support for our trade agreements, not least to show our friends and allies, with whom we do these deals, that we are behind them.

Within the Bill, I note the changes to the procurement legislative framework. I commend the fact that it is already building on the excellent work in the Procurement Act 2023, which specifically helps small businesses to take advantage of the agreements we have signed; again, the shadow Minister, the hon. Member for Harrow West, could have made reference to that legislation or to the Electronic Trade Documents Act 2023—the list goes on and I could go on to, if he would like me to. Of course, there is also the value placed on intellectual property—setting a minimum standard of protections across patents, geographical indictors, copyrights, trade secrets, trademarks and designs, including enforcement mechanisms. Above all, there is a focus not only on how to remove tariffs, but on how to remove non-tariff and technical barriers to trade. The creation of conformity assessment procedures also ensures that we can help businesses from every walk of life to take advantage of the CPTPP—this fastest growing region.

Photo of Richard Graham Richard Graham Ceidwadwyr, Gloucester

My hon. Friend has made a number of absolutely correct statements about the benefits of the agreement. To bring it alive in the specific context of our first ever trade and investment agreement, with Malaysia: because we will be working closely with their ministries, we will see opportunities for joint marketing in ways that we have not often seen around the world. It is worth remembering that our investments over there, which are considerable, generate dividends back to this country. That is as important as attracting inward investment here, which, of course, give them dividends back there. Does my hon. Friend agree that the opportunities in the Bill are there for everyone to recognise; that it is helpful that the Labour party finally agrees that free trade agreements, and this particular agreement, are a positive step forward for the country; and that we should all recognise the opportunities that come after the agreement, and mobilise our chambers of commerce and our small and medium-sized enterprises to take advantage of them?

Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Ceidwadwyr, Totnes

I thank my hon. Friend for allowing me to get my breath back and for the points that he made. I hope SNP Members are listening, because they could make it a hat-trick and support their first international free trade agreement while they are at it. Of course, my hon. Friend is absolutely right: we must recognise both the export value and the import impact. We must also recognise, as was shown clearly through the pandemic, that businesses that have international markets are more resilient to shocks and can take further advantages of the deals that we are putting in front of them. The more that we can get trade deals in front of small businesses, encouraging them to seek out new markets, the more we can safeguard them for a long-term future.

Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Ceidwadwyr, Rugby

I have heard my hon. Friend talk about goods, but I want to hear more about services. We see this purely through the prism of goods going backwards and forwards, but our great strength is services. Where are the service opportunities in this deal?

Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Ceidwadwyr, Totnes

As ever, my colleague on the Business and Trade Committee has steered me back on to the right path. Of course there is enormous value within the legal and financial sectors—the service economy—in which 80% of our economy is based. We must make sure that we are taking full advantage of the deal. We need to get those businesses out there, to look at where we can change international regulation, and to see that there is more mutual co-operation. My hon. Friend is right and has been a strong advocate of those points over the past few months on the Select Committee.

Photo of Richard Graham Richard Graham Ceidwadwyr, Gloucester

On service exports, my hon. Friend will know, as do many colleagues on the Conservative Benches, that education is one of our major service exports. We have five universities operating in Malaysia. We have a number of schools operating around south-east Asia and in all the other nations involved in the trans-Pacific partnership. All those will benefit from this agreement. Does he see that, as perhaps other nations in ASEAN pick up the opportunity of TPP, there will be further education opportunities?

Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Ceidwadwyr, Totnes

Education is one of the jewels in our crown of export opportunities. When we look at what has been created by UK schools in the far east, along with universities that are now exploring those routes, we see that there is an enormous amount of ground to cover and opportunity for those businesses to take advantage of. We are looking to access a region that is worth about £12 trillion, and which is closing in on well over 50% of world trade. This vibrant economic region offers us not just the opportunity, but the ability to create new industries and to be at the forefront of advanced manufacturing—of pharmaceuticals, genomics, quantum and photonics. Whatever we might think, we can take advantage of these deals. Furthermore, the removal of tariffs and technical boundaries will only benefit those services, businesses and advanced manufacturing areas.

Photo of Neil Hudson Neil Hudson Ceidwadwyr, Penrith and The Border

My hon. Friend is making a powerful speech about the benefits of this accession agreement. We have talked about goods, services, education, and science and technology, which are all part of Britain’s global soft power. We will be able to export some of our technology, education and values, not least in food production and farming and in how we regard animal health. A major benefit of our joining this partnership is to spread the good work that the UK does.

Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Ceidwadwyr, Totnes

I am delighted that my hon. Friend has made that point and I thank him for all the work that he does on the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee. He is right to raise the fact that we have such high standards, and that by joining organisations such as this, we will not only serve as an example to others, but show how it is possible to create productive and profitable markets.

Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Labour/Co-operative, Walthamstow

I thank the hon. Member for giving way and appreciate that he feels very strongly about this issue. Will he clarify this for those listening—that the animal welfare standards that we abided by as part of the European Union are not those we are going to see in Canada, Australia or New Zealand? Indeed, we are allowing those goods to be imported tariff-free as part of deals such as this, but we are about to put a whacking great tariff on consignments and import safety checks on food coming in from Europe. Does he recognise that we are sending different messages about the value of animal standards?

Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Ceidwadwyr, Totnes

I refer the hon. Lady to my previous remarks on the TAC report on CPTPP. She has made a point about Australia, and it is fair to give an answer on that. None the less, the point is that we are still safeguarding ourselves against hormone-injected beef and chlorinated chicken. Yes, there are variable standards around the world; we have to recognise that not all trade deals are Christmas trees on which to hang baubles and everything else. We can lead by example. Our standards are the highest in the world, and there is nothing to say that they are not a key persuader for other countries to follow suit in showing how there can be successful markets on that front.

Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Ceidwadwyr, Totnes

I will give way, probably for the last time.

Photo of Mark Garnier Mark Garnier Ceidwadwyr, Wyre Forest

I would like to follow on from the point about beef and meat from Australia. We imported it for years and years when we were part of the European Union. This is not brand new; we have been doing it for a long, long time.

Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Ceidwadwyr, Totnes

That is exactly why we put things such as the Trade and Agriculture Commission on to a statutory footing, so that it could report on these trade agreements. Its opinion is fully weighted with the Government response and comes in during the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act process and allows us in this House to consider it. If Stella Creasy wants to debate this point in a general debate on CPTPP, I would look forward to doing it all over again. Of course, the whole purpose of the process is to give us the chance to take full consideration of the agricultural community’s view.

I have gone on for far too long, Mr Deputy Speaker—[Hon. Members: “Hear, hear!”] Thank you very much! [Hon. Members: “More!”] I believe that that is the first time that anyone in the House has ever told me to carry on, but I am very grateful for it none the less.

We have huge opportunities in the UK to strike new trade agreements to encourage our economy to boom. It is striking that, in his opening remarks, the shadow Minister on the Labour Front Bench did not recognise that, since 2010, the UK’s economy has outperformed that of Portugal, Italy, Spain, Germany and France, to name but a few. This trade agreement signals not just an intent to sign more trade deals in the future, but an approach that we can take if we work together with businesses, financial services, legal services and all industry across this country to bring value to London and to all regions of the United Kingdom. I look forward to seeing its ratification and to this Bill being passed unamended.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means), Chair, Restoration and Renewal Programme Board Committee, Chair, Restoration and Renewal Programme Board Committee

In saying that you had gone on for far too long, you managed to unite both sides of the House, Mr Mangnall, so congratulations.

Photo of Richard Thomson Richard Thomson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Trade), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business) 7:06, 29 Ionawr 2024

First, let me say that we on the SNP Benches are also not looking to divide the House. I thought that I might get the opportunity to pre-empt the jibe that is often made about how my party is against trade deals, but Anthony Mangnall got there first. I saw that those on the Labour Front Bench also took a sideswipe with their rather nonsensical jibe. I freely admit that we have yet to find a deal signed by this Government that we are happy to support. Fundamentally—I say this again—we are in favour of good trade deals and we are not in favour of poor trade deals. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Totnes is very, very excitable. For the purposes of Hansard, he is asking me to name one, but the sad fact is that I cannot name one that has been signed by this Government. Trying to help those on the Treasury Bench and Back Benchers understand the difference feels a bit like Father Ted trying to explain to Father Dougal the difference between cows that are small and cows that are far away.

In common with the shadow Minister, we are not saying that there cannot be some advantages of the CPTPP deal, but what we could not be clearer about is that, taken in their totality, all the trade deals signed to date—or even those that could have been signed had negotiations not failed to get off the starting block, or those that have hit the buffers in recent days—are a very poor substitute for the trade deals that we have left behind. In the manner in which it chose to leave the European Union, the UK managed not only to create trade borders with 27 other countries, but, unfathomably, to create one with itself, when it created a trade border down the middle of the Irish sea between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

In the CPTPP, we have essentially swapped the four freedoms in Europe of goods, capital, services and people, in a market of half a billion people with a GDP of over £15 trillion, which was right on our doorstep and which already took over 40% of our exports, with a much lesser deal, with a combined economy of almost half the size, on the opposite side of the world, which currently takes only 8% of our exports. A great deal of growth would need to happen in that market—somewhat implausibly I have to say—even to come close to matching what has been left behind.

The economic benefits of joining the CPTPP are pretty small. I know the Government do not like these figures being repeated—which seems as good a reason as any to go on and repeat them—but the UK Government’s own impact assessment indicated the long-run increase in GDP would be £2 billion, or 0.06% of GDP. The OBR even had it as 0.04% in the long run. As John Maynard Keynes said:

“In the long run we are all dead.”

In a written answer to me dated 11 September last year, the then Minister of State for International Trade, Nigel Huddleston, said that the impact assessment, where the £2 billion figure had come from, had

“been independently scrutinised by the Regulatory Policy Committee”.

I went and had a look at what the Regulatory Policy Committee had to say in order to get an idea of what “the long run” might actually mean. The Committee’s document said:

“When compared to projected levels of GDP or trade in 2040 without the agreement, the FTA’s main impacts (based on central estimates and in 2021 prices) are that…UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to increase by £2.0 billion.”

What the Minister said in his reply will therefore be correct, just not for a further 16 years or so. In the meantime, we have a real, immediate drop of 4% in GDP resulting from Brexit, leaving our economy permanently driving with the handbrake on.

I understand that the Government intend to adhere to the Sewel convention on this occasion and will seek the legislative consent of the devolved Parliaments and Assemblies for the Bill. The Government should do that for every piece of legislation that comes through this place, not just performatively whenever they are confident of getting a positive response. While the benefits of free trade are obvious, there is also an obvious benefit to having tariffs in place. Tariffs serve a purpose; they are not just about protectionism, as some would have it.

I was encouraged to hear the Secretary of State say that we would never compromise on animal welfare standards, but one sector where that is in real danger of happening is the egg production sector. I see the Minister for Trade Policy wrinkling his brow. He and I have had an exchange on this before. The sector is worth over £1 billion to the UK economy. Tariffs exist currently to protect the industry from imports from mass-producing jurisdictions such as India and Mexico, which have lower standards than we insist on for our domestic producers, and that our consumers rightly demand.

The Minister responded, again not inaccurately, that the UK does not import many eggs. Well, eggs are quite fragile. It is difficult enough sometimes to transport them from the shops back to our kitchens intact, let alone right around the world—but of course the egg products that we are talking about are liquefied or even powdered egg products, which once put into a shipping container can be transported around the world at comparatively very low cost. It would not require a huge amount of displacement in the market to get a foothold if those products were allowed in under the terms of the CPTPP. Let us be under no illusions: for all that it is a £1 billion domestic industry, once egg producers are gone, they are gone and they are not coming back, so there is a real risk of harm and of our standards being undermined whatever level we choose to set them at domestically, because the tariff that was there to maintain a block on imports that did not meet those standards will effectively have been taken away.

Photo of Stella Creasy Stella Creasy Labour/Co-operative, Walthamstow

I am not sure that Mark Garnier quite understands what is about to happen with the border target operating model that fits alongside the legislation. A health check certificate and a consignment charge will be required for eggs and egg products imported from Europe, with no equivalent health check or standard required for eggs imported from CPTPP countries, thus creating an imbalance and making the scenario that Richard Thomson is talking about more likely, because of the way in which eggs are produced in this country in collaboration with Europe.

Photo of Richard Thomson Richard Thomson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Trade), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business)

The hon. Lady makes an excellent point. One of the ironies here is that because our borders will no longer be protected by food import checks at Rotterdam, there has basically been a free-for-all in terms of the standard of products that can come in. I welcome the fact that there will be checks in order to protect our biosphere, but that comes at a financial cost that will hit consumers hard at a time when food inflation remains high and we are in the middle of a cost of living crisis. That is just one example of the red tape that we were told would be cut by Brexit not being cut sideways; it has been cut lengthways, creating far more of the stuff.

Photo of Richard Graham Richard Graham Ceidwadwyr, Gloucester

Moving away from eggs, which I do not think will be the major export from Malaysia or other far-eastern members of the trans-Pacific partnership, let us look at the opportunities for Scotland. In the last year or so there have been bumper sales of Scottish whisky. Whisky sales in Singapore are up by some £90 million, and in Malaysia they are up over £30 million. The opportunities arising from being able to export tariff-free to Malaysia will mean a substantial increase in our single most important food and beverage export. Does the hon. Member agree that we should not underestimate the opportunities for Scotland in all this?

Photo of Richard Thomson Richard Thomson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Trade), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business)

My point about eggs—I will stay on this subject for a bit—related to India and Mexico, which are major producers. Of course Scottish MPs are interested in good trade outcomes for Scotland, but we look to trade more than just whisky. While any increase in our share of the international spirits market is welcome, it would have done us much more good if the Government with control over domestic duties had not whacked an 11.1% increase in duty on that product last year. I say as gently as I can to the hon. Member that it is not just tariffs that are significant; many jurisdictions take their cue for the taxes levied on a product from the duty set in this country. I contend that we set a very bad example—I hope that he might agree—when whisky is taxed so highly in comparison with other alcohol products in the UK domestic market. [Interruption.] I am sorry; I did not quite catch that. I invite the hon. Member to intervene on me, if he wishes to make a point.

Photo of Richard Graham Richard Graham Ceidwadwyr, Gloucester

I was just making the point that taxation raised here is spent on important issues in the United Kingdom. That of course includes, under the Barnett formula, significant subsidies by the English of Scotland.

Photo of Richard Thomson Richard Thomson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Trade), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business)

What a load of absolute codswallop. It may have escaped the hon. Member’s notice that every part of the UK is in deficit. I do not think that a single part of the UK, perhaps not even London or the south-east, raises more in taxation than it receives in public expenditure, so can he please park the patronising trope about England subsidising everywhere else? Scotland creates one of the highest levels of gross value added of any part of the UK outside the vortex of London and the south-east, which suck in every aspect of capital and talent.

Photo of Mark Garnier Mark Garnier Ceidwadwyr, Wyre Forest

In the spirit of trying to bring the debate back to the fantastic opportunities for Scotland, as the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Brunei, I was delighted to go to Aberdeen to meet a number of Scottish companies in the incredibly important business of decommissioning and renewal in the oil and gas industry. Brunei has signed a deal worth, I think, £350 million with Scottish business. That is not subject to any controversy.

May I also say that the hon. Member’s contribution to this place is incredibly useful? It is a very good symbol of why members of the SNP and Scottish Members of Parliament are so valuable to the Union, and to debates such as this in the British Parliament. Long may you be welcome here in Britain.

Photo of Richard Thomson Richard Thomson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Trade), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business)

We seemed to be being pulled back to the topic, but now I am being tempted to go off down another rabbit hole. While I thank the hon. Member for his generous comments, I know exactly what side my bread is buttered on. I am a long-standing supporter of Scottish independence because I have a simple belief that the best people to run Scotland and make decisions about Scotland are those who have chosen to make their life there. With all due respect to this place and its traditions, I think that we could do a far better job from the Parliament in Edinburgh.

I will get back to the purpose of the debate, as entertaining as that no doubt was for all concerned. The SNP retains concerns about the ability to apply investor-state dispute settlements under the CPTPP. A deal for Canada has, for now at least, hit the buffers, but it was concerning that there was no indication from the Government of any side letters about investor-state dispute settlements similar to those applied in respect of the FTAs with Australia and New Zealand. There is real concern that investor-state dispute settlements could have an impact on standards and decisions taken here.

We firmly believe that trade deals done right can channel and create potential to support decent jobs and raise standards, not just domestically but globally. It is therefore worrying that the ethos of the CPTPP means effectively abandoning the precautionary principle, which places the burden of proof on the producer to show that a product is safe. Instead, the burden will be on the regulator to prove that something is a danger before action can be taken. That can only act as a downward pressure on standards. The committee on regulatory coherence will no doubt also become a focus for this issue, whether we are talking about antibiotics in agriculture, the impact of decisions on deforestation, or something as iconic as palm oil; we have already agreed a 12% tariff on imports from Malaysia, irrespective of the impact that that would have.

We have further concerns about the impact on workers’ rights and domestic conditions. There is the risk of being undermined by lower costs elsewhere, resulting from lower standards on labour rights and obligations, or lower regulatory standards more broadly. We are concerned about the impact that that could have on our public services, and our ability to set domestic laws and regulations could come under challenge, either from the economic forces that are unleashed or through the ISDS mechanism.

All things considered, the Government have made a blustery and boosterish contribution, while being very blasé about and dismissive of the concerns raised. As I said earlier, the SNP will not seek to divide the House on the Bill this evening, but we certainly look forward to exploring all those issues further in Committee.

Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Chair, Business and Trade Committee, Chair, Business and Trade Committee, Chair, Business and Trade Sub-Committee on National Security and Investment, Chair, Business and Trade Sub-Committee on National Security and Investment 7:21, 29 Ionawr 2024

I suppose I should start by declaring an interest, because nearly 10 years ago I wrote a book called “Turning to Face the East: How Britain can prosper in the Asian century”, which was an encouragement for exactly this kind of initiative. I am a supporter of CPTPP and I am grateful to the Secretary of State, who is no longer in her place, for joining us at the Business and Trade Committee last week, along with others, to provide evidence on the treaty. The Committee hopes, if its members are amenable, to publish a report on CPTPP over the next couple of weeks, and certainly before Committee stage of this Bill, to try to maximise opportunities to build cross-party consensus on something very important to all our futures.

I want briefly to say a word about size, a word about standards, and a word about settlement of investor disputes, but it behoves us all in this House to recognise the point we start from: trade and export growth is not where it needs to be, or where Members on both sides of the House want it to be. We know the old joke: not all fairytales start with “Once upon a time”; some of them begin with “When I am elected”. Looking back at the Conservative manifesto for the last election, we might be tempted to label it a bit of a fairy story, because it said very clearly that the goal was to set out free trade agreements covering about 80% of British trade, and we are nowhere near that. We are in fact much closer to 60%.

The Secretary of State put most of the onus for that on a change of Administration in America, but the truth is that apart from the cut-and-paste, roll-over trade deals that we have had since leaving the European Union, we have only signed three new free trade deals. I am glad to hear that what would have been the fourth new one, which we hoped to sign with Canada, is not dead, but it certainly appeared to be running into trouble last week. I am sad that the Secretary of State did not come to the House to make a statement about that news today. That would have been appropriate. However, I am grateful that she has made some reassuring noises about it in this debate.

When the Select Committee put the point about the lack of FTAs to the Secretary of State last week, she said that she had “pivoted away” from FTAs. That is not necessarily a good thing, because she went on to say that she, like many economists, thought that FTAs do promote trade. The bottom line is that our export performance is way off target. The Government have set an export target of about £1 trillion by 2030, which interestingly has not been adjusted up for inflation as arguably it should have been, but the Institute of Directors last year said that we need export growth to be getting on for about 3.5%. As the shadow Minister, my hon. Friend Gareth Thomas, said, we are nowhere near achieving that performance. We have an export growth forecast of roughly 0.1%, 0.2%, or 0.3%.

The Secretary of State very kindly agreed not to have a public argument with the Office for Budget Responsibility last week, and I think we were all grateful for that, but she said there were different models—not alternative facts, but alternative models—in her Department. I have written to her today to ask for the publication of those models so that the Select Committee can scrutinise them before the Bill goes into Committee. Scale is important because our trade performance is off track. Generally speaking, economies that trade more, grow faster, and we want our economy to grow faster, because we all share an interest in raising the living standards of our constituents. That is why my the first point, about the scale of CPTPP in the future, is so important.

The Secretary of State has stacked up a lot of her argument on our needing to go in future to where the growth is. She said that if we cannot do trade deals where the growth is today—for example, with our partners in America—we should go to where the growth will be tomorrow. That is a reasonable argument, and Asia-Pacific countries accounted for over 70% of global GDP growth in the decade up to 2023. However, China accounted for about one third of global GDP growth. That is why I pushed the Secretary of State again, as I did last week, to at least show us how we will have a conversation about how this country will make a rational decision with partners on whether to agree to ratify China, if it met the technical standards. We have similar questions to resolve on Taiwan, but in his public pronouncements, President Xi has made it very clear that he is ambitious for China to meet the technical standards. The question is therefore whether, if China met the technical standards, we would stand in the way of ratification, or whether other important geopolitical considerations would inspire us to block it.

Looking beyond China to the CPTPP’s future more generally, given that we have set such store by this treaty, what is our vision for its future? Where is the road map? The Department published a document a year or two ago on the strategic benefits, but the Secretary of State resiled from all the numbers in that report last week. I do not think that is a good way to make public policy, but let me put it this way: our debate about trade policy and strategy ahead of the election would be much stronger if we had good figures on the table about the options and choices confronting our country. We will certainly do our bit in the Business and Trade Committee to supply those figures, but it would be fantastic if the Secretary of State could commit to doing something similar.

The question that follows on from size is about standards. There were controversial topics that we took evidence on last week, and we will capture what we learned in the report that we publish. There were questions about environmental and climate impacts; there are general provisions about those in the treaty, but they are not enforceable and there is not much mention of net zero. If we think about the treaty as something that is fairly marginal for trade today—it represents about a 0.09% GDP uplift over nine years—but is geopolitically important, we need to think about how it becomes a load-bearing structure for more of our ambitions in the world, such as the race to net zero. Maybe when the Minister is winding up he could say a bit more about how we can freight this treaty with some of our other national interests.

The point about food production standards has already come up. No changes to UK standards are entailed in the treaty, but there were concerns about sanitary and phytosanitary rules, based on the precautionary principle. The evidence we heard said that they could be challenged. It is a legally murky area and, on balance, the challenges seem unlikely to succeed, but that is none the less something to explore in the Bill Committee. It could well be that that Committee wants to ensure that further safeguards are written into the Bill over the course of its passage.

There will be an increase in imports of agrifood goods produced to lower standards than UK standards. That is true when it comes to pesticides, genetically modified organisms and animal welfare, but not to antimicrobials. On pesticides, the Trade and Agriculture Commission found some basis for weaker standards; on GMOs it found some basis for concern. On environmental laws and policies, palm oil imports are obviously controversial, particularly when it comes to deforestation in Malaysia, but the TAC found that the concerns were, if not non-present—there are concerns to be had—then perhaps slightly overstated.

The final point is about investor-state dispute settlements. Again, the treaty extends the application of ISDS to Canada, Japan and Brunei. One way in which that has become such a big issue is that organisations such as the Canadian teachers’ pension funds are some of the biggest investors in the world, with significant investments in the UK water industry. There have been 1,300 or 1,500 of those cases around the world. The evidence we heard suggested that the UK was likely to be able to successfully defend such cases. One consideration about which we should hear a little more is whether the presence of those clauses in the Bill creates a chilling effect on the way in which we regulate our markets here. If we wanted to regulate the water industry differently in future, would we not bring forward those regulations because of fear about what would happen and how we might be challenged?

The gains from the treaty, as drafted, are modest. They generally come from the fact that we have a new FTA, as part of the treaty, with Malaysia and Brunei. That is good for whisky, for cars and for chocolate, such as that made in Bournville. A single set of rules of origin and a single cumulation zone are good things. Access to some of the agrifood quotas, such as Canadian dairy, is a good thing. Some of the progress made in the digital chapter, about which the Secretary of State did not talk much, could be quite useful and can be built on more generally.

We have to conclude that the trade benefits as of now are no substitute for ironing out the difficulties that bedevil trade between the UK and our close neighbour, the EU. Across the House, we should collectively ensure that we are doing what we can to advance the prospect of a UK-US trade deal. These are modest trade benefits but an important geostrategic step forward.

It is good to have this Second Reading debate, which I welcome. Like Anthony Mangnall, I very much hope that the Government will make time for us to have a debate under the CRaG principles about whether the treaty as a whole goes forward. We would welcome the opportunity to have an amendable motion on that, as the other place did recently on the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Bill. The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee has published an excellent report today about how we can better consider treaties. In this new world, Parliament as a whole must get a lot better at studying these kinds of trade agreements and ensuring that they dovetail with other aspects of our economic and national security. I look forward to the debate in the Bill Committee, which I hope will benefit from the report that our Select Committee will supply.

Photo of Sarah Green Sarah Green Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Wales) 7:33, 29 Ionawr 2024

I rise to broadly welcome the UK’s accession to the CPTPP. The Liberal Democrats support efforts that create opportunities for British firms around the world, not just in the here and now, but in years to come. However, the reality is that the immediate benefits of the CPTPP will be a drop in the ocean. Given that the UK has, or is about to have, trade agreements with all but two countries that are currently part of the CPTPP, it is perhaps not surprising that analysis suggests that the immediate benefits will be limited and that the Government’s own projections show that the economic impact will be minimal.

I will address three particular areas. The first relates to the fears of our farming community, which have been mentioned. The National Farmers Union is concerned about the lack of core standards for food imports. As colleagues in the other place have noted, when it comes to the CPTPP, those concerns are not so much about the protection of UK standards but about the standards in other countries, which could undermine and undercut UK businesses through imports. In particular, UK farmers producing eggs, pork and beef are potentially vulnerable to imports produced using practices that are banned in the UK. I can therefore understand the concern of the farming community, which is proud of the UK’s high animal welfare standards in food production and worries about being undercut by lower-standard imports from elsewhere. I also understand why consumers will be worried about food produced to lower standards reaching their local supermarket. My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I are keen to avoid a race to the bottom, and to ensure that our animal welfare standards are not diminished as part of any trade agreement.

The second issue relates to our creative industries, which are worried about proposed changes to copyright law. The UK has one of the best intellectual property regimes in the world. It is therefore understandable that the businesses and creators that depend on strong IP rights, and that play a vital role in our economy, want assurances from the Government that the UK’s accession to the CPTPP will not have an adverse impact on them. Like others, the Alliance for Intellectual Property has raised a number of concerns, noting the lack of reciprocity in the Bill in relation to copyright law, particularly on performers’ rights. If I have understood correctly, the Bill would extend payment rights, or equitable remuneration, to foreign artists who perform in the UK, without ensuring reciprocal arrangements for UK artists who perform in those countries. That seems perverse. It would be good to know what impact assessment, if any, has been done on that area. I would welcome clarification from the Minister in his closing remarks.

The third area relates to the accession of other countries. The benefits of the CPTPP may in fact come as other countries with which we do not currently enjoy trade agreements join. However, it would be remiss of me not to mention concerns, which we have already heard, about the potential accession of China. My noble Friend Lord Purvis outlined in the other place the reason a debate about China is so important. He said that it is

“not just the scale of the UK’s trade with China but how resilient we are in relation to it.”

Our trade in goods with China is currently at a £40 billion deficit. That is the largest deficit with a single country in our nation’s history. As Lord Purvis pointed out:

“The shipping of goods from China, which we depend on for our consumers, comes through the very area where we have deployed military assets”—[Official Report, House of Lords, 16 January 2024;
Vol. 835, c. 337-38.]

in recent weeks. It is in our geopolitical and strategic trading interests that Parliament devotes time to debating our relationship with China. I hope that the Government will make the most of the UK’s place in the CPTPP to protect the interests of our allies in the region, and human rights, from China’s actions.

I will finish by reiterating a plea that I have made previously, and which other hon. Members have made in the debate, about the need for greater parliamentary scrutiny of all free trade agreements. We are debating the Bill because primary legislation is required for the UK to be compliant with the CPTPP when it enters into force. In the past, the Government have committed to giving Parliament greater scrutiny of free trade agreements but then reneged on it. They broke their commitment to giving Parliament a vote on the Australia trade deal, for example, which had terrible consequences for British farmers. The fact that we are having this debate today is welcome, but I leave Ministers with the message that it should not be the exception to the rule.

Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Llafur, Hayes and Harlington 7:38, 29 Ionawr 2024

I will raise three issues: the scrutiny process, ISDS and my ongoing concerns about the impact of the measures.

I am a member of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee. I am the sole Committee member present in the Chamber because the others are on a delegation to Berlin at the moment—I am sure that they are working hard at this time of night, and not having a dinner. As has been mentioned, we published our report today; it is a comprehensive report, agreed by all parties. We have been looking at the overall parliamentary scrutiny process for treaties and free trade agreements and, to be frank, we have unanimously found that the current process is unfit for purpose.

At the moment, Parliament—I do not disparage the Government for this; it has happened consistently in the past—is treated as an afterthought in trade policy. We have not been able to find any meaningful mechanism by which Parliament can influence the negotiating objectives at the beginning of the overall process or oversee negotiations as they proceed, and we are never guaranteed a vote on the final agreement at the end of the process—a point that has been made on a number of occasions by Members across the House.

That contrasts with what happens in other legislatures, particularly the US Congress, where legislators play an incredibly proactive role. I do not think the Government should see the parliamentary process as an imposition with regard to future treaties, but as a method of improving the trade negotiations by allowing Members of Parliament to have an early and ongoing voice in those discussions. It is interesting that other Members—including the former Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice—made exactly the same point during a debate in this House on the Australia free trade agreement, way back in November 2022. The right hon. Gentleman set out how during talks with Japan, the Japanese negotiators used parliamentary motions that their Government could not breach to protect their country’s interests.

People will see from the report that we have put forward a fairly comprehensive process by which the House can efficiently and effectively engage itself in such negotiations, with a sifting committee and a scrutiny committee. The House would always have the right to a vote at the end of the day, but more importantly, it would have an influence at the beginning of the negotiations when the overall objectives are set. The proposed process is part of an overall attempt to create greater transparency and, indeed, greater interest within the House in trade negotiations. I hope that the Government will take the Select Committee report away and come back with a positive response, because it contains some very constructive recommendations.

I now turn to the much discussed investor-state dispute settlement procedure. In debates in recent years, Members from across the House have expressed concern about the investor-state dispute mechanism, and those concerns have moved into the mainstream—not just in this country, but in other countries that are moving away from that system. As we have heard, Australia and New Zealand have committed to exclude the ISDS procedure from future trade agreements on the basis that in many instances, that procedure is not in the public interest. I cite the energy charter treaty. That has been the biggest vehicle for ISDS claims, and it is collapsing, with France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and others withdrawing. President Biden has now come out and criticised the ISDS procedures, and has basically excluded them from any future US trade agreements.

As the Minister knows, I have raised this matter in the House a number of times. I am sometimes perplexed: we are told that the Government are committed to the ISDS process, but on the other hand, they have acceded to both Australia and New Zealand exempting themselves from that process with regard to the UK. The last time I raised this issue, the Minister responded by saying—exactly as the Chair of the Business and Trade Select Committee, my right hon. Friend Liam Byrne, noted—that the UK has never been successfully challenged under ISDS. That is true, but there is an element of hubris in that position.

Photo of Liam Byrne Liam Byrne Chair, Business and Trade Committee, Chair, Business and Trade Committee, Chair, Business and Trade Sub-Committee on National Security and Investment, Chair, Business and Trade Sub-Committee on National Security and Investment

My right hon. Friend is making an excellent speech, and he is absolutely right to flag this issue. The UK Government have not hitherto been successfully challenged under ISDS, but for the first time, countries with very significant foreign direct investment into the UK are involved in this treaty. The figure for Canada alone is $56 billion. When it came to Japan—the other big investor—ISDS was excluded from the UK-Japan bilateral investment treaty. We need an awful lot more reassurance from the Government on this point, given the scale of investment from countries such as Canada in our country in general, but in sectors such as the water industry in particular.

Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Llafur, Hayes and Harlington

I do not know how excellent my speech is—I will just ramble on as usual, I think.

The argument that was put to me by the Minister responding today, Greg Hands, was that if we cannot trust Canada in these deals, who can we trust? That is precisely the point, though: Canada will now have a parallel system, and Canadian firms will be able to take legal action in their own country. As a result of that statement by the Minister, I went away and had a look at the figures for Canadian firms under this process, and those firms stand out as being particularly litigious. They have brought over 65 ISDS cases in recent years. I therefore think that there is a chilling effect, exactly as the Chair of the Select Committee said, which at the end of the day can have implications for the UK’s right to regulate. If a number of cases are waged against the UK, that may undermine our ability to act more freely when it comes to regulation of the water sector, and also policy development, particularly on issues around water and future public ownership.

Again, I have previously raised this matter with the Secretary of State. What I cannot completely understand is that at the same time that the UK Government are defending the ISDS process with regard to the CPTPP, in the negotiating process for the bilateral free trade agreement they set out a specific objective to exclude the provisions of the ISDS system. That is a contradiction, and the Government’s thinking on that matter has not yet been explained to me. As the Minister will also know, there is a remarkably broad range of concern about the ISDS: in October 2023, a letter was submitted to the Government—supported by 30 non-governmental organisations and trade unions and over 50 academics and legal professionals from both the UK and Canada—calling for the immediate negotiation of a side letter between the UK and Canada to disapply the ISDS provisions between the two countries. That is exactly what happened with regard to New Zealand and Australia, and for the life of me, I cannot understand why the Government have not gone down that path for this particular negotiation.

I also want to express some concerns that have been raised about environmental issues and about labour standards. The CPTPP includes a number of countries where abuses of labour rights are widespread. To give a few examples, independent trade unions are banned in Brunei and Vietnam, while forced labour has been widely documented in Malaysia in various pieces of research, and a number of CPTPP member states have not ratified some of the core International Labour Organisation conventions.

The protections for labour rights within the CPTPP are particularly weak: a member state can only challenge another member state over a failure to uphold labour rights if it can be demonstrated that such a failure affected trade, which is notoriously difficult to prove in such cases. The ineffectual nature of that chapter is demonstrated by the fact that since the agreement’s conclusion in 2018, no Government have challenged another for abusing rights. The TUC has described the risk of CPTPP making it

“easier for unethical companies and investors to do business with countries where it’s easier to exploit workers”— a risk that it considers to be significant. I do not think we have addressed that issue sufficiently.

There are also concerns regarding standards in partner countries. For example, as has already been said, pesticide standards could be undermined. Some 119 pesticides that are banned in the UK are allowed for use in one or more CPTPP member states. Although accession to the CPTPP does not necessitate any lowering of UK standards in this regard, when the peers debated this issue, there were really practical questions about the sufficiency of the UK’s border testing regime in keeping banned substances out. Again, it is an issue that needs further consideration in more detail as we go through the whole process.

The issue has been raised—and I know that the Chair of the Select Committee said that this may well have been exaggerated or overestimated in some of the debates—that the UK has acceded to Malaysia’s demand to lower tariffs on palm oil to zero. I have to say that the evidence I have seen and the representations I have received from the Trade Justice Movement and others is that this is highly likely to increase palm oil exports and, with that, the risk of deforestation, which will serve to undermine indigenous and local community land rights and threaten natural habitats for species such as orangutans. We have seen the various research and the range of evidence mounting on this particular issue. Again, it was debated in the Lords in the context of the potential protections afforded by the UK forest risk commodities legislation, under section 17 of the Environment Act 2021, but it is unclear when these regulations will actually come into effect, and therefore many believe that the protections are not in place at this stage.

There is also a view that accession to the CPTPP will bring risks of the erosion of preferences, under which current preferential trade agreements afforded to exporters in one country will bring negative development impacts on others. One example cited by the Trade Justice Movement is that Afruibana, the association representing banana exporters across Africa, has set out concerns regarding the potential impacts of tariff liberalisation in South and central America for those they represent.

Finally, one of the reports sent to me was a health impact assessment produced by Public Health Wales. It identified a range of diverse potential impacts, including the worsening of global air pollution due to transport distances for goods, the loss of employment for some population groups and, of course, the risk of ISDS cases being brought against regulations that seek to support public health outcomes. It is an important impact assessment that needs further scrutiny and examination. It leaves me with the impression overall that there has been a lack of impact assessments, so I look forward to the Select Committee report, which will go into further depths on this.

I come to the conclusion that, with all the risks involved and with such doubt surrounding the CPTPP, it will achieve what we could not even describe as a marginal economic gain over the length of time it will be in place, and I fear to tread on treaties and agreements of this sort. I just think that, although there is not going to be a vote tonight, I might be tempted at a later date to vote against the Bill—so I had better let the Labour Whips know that.

Photo of Sarah Dyke Sarah Dyke Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Somerton and Frome 7:53, 29 Ionawr 2024

The CPTPP poses a serious public health risk, makes us complicit in untold environmental harm and is

“another nail in the coffin” for UK farmers, as one constituent put it to me last week. I am deeply concerned about the livelihoods of farmers, who will be exposed to increased competition from lower standard farm inputs, meaning that many domestic farmers may struggle to compete.

Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Ceidwadwyr, Totnes

Further to the point I made earlier, does the hon. Lady not recognise that the report on the CPTPP by the Trade and Agriculture Commission, which was set up all those years ago because people were worried about what was going to be in the Australia agreement—it is set up on a constitutional or statutory footing, is there to review all our trade agreements, and includes people such as Nick von Westenholz from the NFU and a number of other members from the agriculture community—did not find that it was damaging to farmers across this country? If that report is to be believed, would she not have done well to tell her constituent that this is not the case, rather than allowing that fear to run wild?

Photo of Sarah Dyke Sarah Dyke Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Somerton and Frome

I thank the hon. Member for those interesting points.

I am concerned about the negative impact that this Bill has on modern innovative and sustainable agribusiness. I am concerned about the worsening of the UK’s environmental impact, and the fading net zero commitments that this Government are shying away from. I am concerned about the human rights implications that my constituents, as consumers, may be made to stomach. I have many constituents working in the agrifood industry who feel they have been misled by this Tory Administration. One farmer told me last week that

“this Government says one thing with its many mouths and then does something completely different”.

We ask our farmers to maintain high welfare and environmental standards—and rightly so—but some signatories, such as Mexico, have almost none. Food security expert Professor Chris Elliott told me:

“It’s absolutely not a level playing field in any stretch of the imagination”.

We Liberal Democrats agree with the NFU and the World Wildlife Fund in demanding core production standards for agrifood imports, which would uphold the ban on hormone treatment for cattle and prevent the import of food containing any of the 119 pesticides banned in the UK—to give just two examples. Which? surveys show that 84% of the country agrees with us, and I urge the Government to adopt this measure.

Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Ceidwadwyr, Totnes

I am sorry, but I just feel that this matter should be hammered home. The opening summary of the Trade and Agriculture Commission report on the CPTPP states:

Question 1: 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?”

The answer from the Trade and Agriculture Commission is:

“No. CPTPP does not require the UK to change its levels of statutory protection in relation to (a) animal or plant life or health, (b) animal welfare, or (c) environmental protection.”

This is not going to damage them, so the hon. Member must go back to her constituents and reassure them, rather than allow this mistruth to run wild across the countryside.

Photo of Sarah Dyke Sarah Dyke Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Somerton and Frome

The hon. Member makes an interesting point, but my view is about what the future will bring.

I have spoken in this place about the concerns I have regarding the mental health of farmers and farm workers, and the situation that farmers face is stark. In 2021, over a third of farmers surveyed by the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution were “probably or possibly depressed”. Trade deals implemented since the Tory Brexit arrangement are causing significant financial stress and uncertainty to many agrifood businesses. Dairy, beef and poultry producers have approached me for help, fearing that they may not be in business by the summer. One farmer in Castle Cary told me last week that

“we farmers are the ones who stump up the cost”.

I am proud to have some of the country’s oldest cheddar producers in my constituency, such as Wyke Farms near Bruton, and many new artisan cheese producers, like Feltham’s Farm in Horsington, but even award-winning cheeseries are not safe from the toxic tendrils of this deal. The effects will be felt by businesses in the supply chain as well, such as Sycamore Process Engineering, a growing local business based in Sparkford, where 67 local people work; and if those businesses’ customers go bust, so will they. Losing agrifood businesses would irrecoverably alter our rural way of life.

The farmer in Castle Cary also spoke of the

“hidden cost of cheap food”, and one of those costs is welfare, both human and animal. I echo the words of my noble Friend Baroness Bakewell about the threats to indigenous peoples in palm oil producing forests, which John McDonnell has mentioned. International Labour Organisation standards are not incumbent on signatories to this deal. We should have grave concerns about suspiciously under-priced food landing in our market, when the average Vietnamese harvest worker gets £5.50 per hour, according to the Economic Research Institute.

How can we know whether the people producing this food have been paid at all? The egg producers in Mexico, who will undercut my constituents by about a third, are subjecting their chickens to horrendous living conditions, and are themselves at the mercy of powerful cartels. They live in “slavery-like conditions”, according to El País this month, where cartels have

“taken over all links of the supply chain”, and

“violence and extortion add to the ravages of climate change”.

Is this the sort of modern trade we want to support?

Photo of Sarah Dyke Sarah Dyke Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, Somerton and Frome

I will not.

I want to end with a stark and urgent warning. Last month, the Food Standards Agency had to issue a health warning after a rise in salmonella cases from Polish eggs and poultry meat, with 200 cases reported in 2023. That risk only grows when we open the floodgates to eggs and poultry produced to lower standards. Professor Elliott warned me about antibiotics deployed en masse without veterinary approval, Government control, or knowledge of the antibiotics’ provenance. Such use and abuse of antibiotics is part of a frightening health picture. Professor Elliott cautioned that

“most countries do not have the infrastructure, regulations or oversight of drugs or pathogens—we could be opening up Pandora’s box.”

Batch-testing imports just will not work. Antibiotic resistance will spread from plate to platelet, and we would have a hard time swallowing that unpalatable morsel.

My constituents have record low trust in the Government. Removing water from the egg of an imprisoned chicken, drugged up on antibiotics that it did not need, and shipping that egg 5,000 miles to put into pancake mix and insipid sandwiches, is what my constituents have come to expect from this Tory Administration. Many of my constituents will not stomach toxic Tory trade deals, and we must urgently renegotiate them and have more mandatory parliamentary powers for future deals. We cannot afford the health cost to our population, the carbon cost to the planet, and the financial cost to our farmers. We have the chance to be world leaders in modern, world-beating, innovative, sustainable agriculture, and to proudly keep our high standards and improve our food security. Let us not lose that opportunity.

Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Exports) 8:01, 29 Ionawr 2024

It is an honour and privilege to close today’s enthralling debate on behalf of His Majesty’s official Opposition. Tonight, as we consider Second Reading of this important Bill, it is essential to balance our support for it with a critical eye. Labour supports CPTPP accession, albeit with reservations, and this Government are known to promise “oven-ready” deals that often break more ground in rhetoric than in reality. The Labour party recognises the UK’s untapped trade potential, and is committed to harnessing it. However, we must acknowledge the Government’s over-estimation of the CPTPP benefits. Initially they suggested a 0.08% GDP boost over 10 years, but recent forecasts have downgraded that to a mere 0.04% in the long run. To ensure that trade is a force for good, we must subject such deals to rigorous scrutiny, and commit to progress on climate change, human rights, and labour conditions globally.

As hon. Members have stated, the devil is indeed in the detail. The failure to deliver on manifesto commitments, including agreements with India and the US, highlights the need for a realistic evaluation of CPTPP’s benefits. As illustrated by Anthony Mangnall, there is no denying the importance of closer ties with Indo-Pacific allies, especially in these uncertain times. However, although CPTPP offers trade advantages such as rules of origin provisions and potential for improved terms, grand Government claims of “unparalleled opportunities” and “glittering” post-Brexit prizes must be substantiated and grounded. It is my duty to ensure not just that the skeleton of the deal accedes, but that British business thrives as a result.

In his excellent speech, my hon. Friend Gareth Thomas highlighted the concerns of our creative industries, and the hon. Members for Chesham and Amersham (Sarah Green) and for Somerton and Frome (Sarah Dyke) explained concerns surrounding farming and China. Considering that we already have free trade agreements with nine CPTPP members, the immediate benefits of formally joining the CPTPP might seem limited. The Government’s projection of a mere 0.06% boost to the UK’s GDP from CPTPP calls for a measured evaluation of its actual economic impact. This deal puts us at the heart of a dynamic group of economies, but it is crucial that we do not stop pushing for more ambitious growth. We do not have that privilege after 14 long years of Conservative rule.

Our stagnated economy needs a much needed boost. Indeed, in the last 10 years, Britain has had the second worst export record in the G7. That is why change is necessary.

Having spoken to British exporters in my constituency and across our country, I know that the challenges they face post Brexit are substantial, and increased barriers, red tape and bureaucracy have been a significant hindrance. The Bill must be part of a larger strategy to revitalise our global trade presence, yet Labour sees untapped potential here.

For example, we recognise the immense contribution that small and medium-sized businesses make to our economy, with a £2.4 trillion contribution and employment for 16.7 million people. However, the Government’s approach to supporting those enterprises in expanding their export potential lacks clear strategic direction and coherence. Labour’s plan for small businesses aims to address those gaps, ensuring that SMEs have the necessary support and framework to flourish in international markets. The CPTPP symbolises international co-operation and unlocks untapped SME potential, with around 375,000 UK SMEs not currently engaged in international trade representing a £290 billion export opportunity. There is indeed untapped potential waiting to be harnessed. The Bill also highlights the regulatory burdens faced by businesses, and we must reduce the complex web of regulations. It further lowers tariffs to enhance market access and choice for businesses sourcing from CPTPP countries, potentially benefiting consumers. However, it is important to note that that may expose some UK businesses to increased competition from CPTPP exporters.

Let us look more closely at the impact than at the wording of this deal. As my right hon. Friend John McDonnell eloquently explained, the inclusion of investor state dispute settlement mechanisms in the CPTPP raises grave concerns about the influence of foreign investors. We must scrutinise those provisions to protect our sovereignty and democratic principles.

Our commitment to environmental stewardship is critical. The World Wildlife Fund has expressed concerns about the CPTPP’s impact on deforestation, particularly palm oil, which could conflict with our commitments in the Environment Act 2021. We must ensure that our trade policies align with robust environmental protection. It is essential that our trade deals do not undermine our efforts to combat the climate crisis. The Government’s optimistic portrayal of the CPTPP must be balanced against a history of over-promising and under-delivering in trade deals. Figures from the respected independent Office for Budget Responsibility suggest that the CPTPP might contribute only a marginal 0.04% to our GDP.

The Government hail the CPTPP as a transformative deal and a potential panacea for our post-Brexit trade woes, but let us be clear that while they paint a rosy picture of economic prosperity, the empirical evidence suggests otherwise, as was excellently elaborated on by the Chair of the Business and Trade Committee, my right hon. Friend Liam Byrne. We were promised sunlit uplands post Brexit, yet here we are squinting to see the benefits through a fog of uncertainty.

Photo of Anthony Mangnall Anthony Mangnall Ceidwadwyr, Totnes

That is not empirical evidence. A forecast is not empirical fact—it is a forecast—and these are modelling exercises by their very nature. I challenge the hon. Member to give me proof from any trade agreement, with the value at the beginning versus what it was at the five-year mark and the 10-year mark. Nearly every trade agreement, whether signed by the European Union, the UK or the Americans, has always been undervalued because the emphasis is on businesses and communities taking advantage of it.

Photo of Tan Dhesi Tan Dhesi Shadow Minister (Exports)

I thank the hon. Member for that intervention. Just as the Government’s aspirations go by those figures, we must likewise respect the figures of the Office for Budget Responsibility, as it is a lot more rigorous in its exercise. We cannot discard its figures; indeed, we must dwell on them as the wider British industry and the economy look closely at those figures. They are the best figures we have, rather than anything that the Government or anybody else have put on the table.

It crucial to acknowledge the broader context of the UK’s export performance. In recent years, we have seen a concerning decline in our export capabilities, raising questions about how effectively the CPTPP can reverse the trend. The Bill must be part of a larger strategy to revitalise our global trade presence and not be just a stand-alone solution. The deal was negotiated by the party that has hiked trade barriers, crashed our economy, driven up food prices, engaged in damaging megaphone diplomacy, increased bureaucracy for our businesses trading internationally, and much worse besides. In contrast, Labour’s objective is to increase trade and international co-operation, and we will be closely watching the execution of this deal.

The Government have repeatedly failed on their promises on the international stage. We support international trade and global co-operation, but that must translate into tangible benefits for British jobs, consumers and our overall global economic prosperity. That trade also cannot come at the cost of our moral and ethical commitment to, for example, human rights, labour rights, food standards and the environment. Labour’s approach to the CPTPP will be one of cautious optimism, balanced by a realistic assessment of its potential impact on our national interests.

As we edge closer to a much awaited election that will help to put the British public out of their misery, the Labour party stands as the true party of business and trade, advocating for agreements that genuinely benefit the UK’s economy. We support the CPTPP but remain vigilant about ensuring that it aligns with our vision of a thriving, globally competitive Britain. We are committed to a future where Great Britain not only engages with the world but leads in a fair, equitable and profitable trade relationship with our partners around the world.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Party Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade) 8:14, 29 Ionawr 2024

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.

Photo of Dan Carden Dan Carden Llafur, Liverpool, Walton

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.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Party Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)

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 Sir Liam Fox, was to explore accession to the trans-Pacific partnership, as the CPTPP was then known.

Photo of Richard Graham Richard Graham Ceidwadwyr, Gloucester

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?

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Party Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)

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 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 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 Liam Byrne and 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 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 Sarah Green, the CPTPP is an existing agreement, and changes will have to be made.

Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Llafur, Hayes and Harlington

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.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Party Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)

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.

Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands Party Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)

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 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, 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 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 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.