Preferential rates: arrangements with countries or territories outside UK

Part of Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:15 pm ar 25 Ionawr 2018.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Kirsty Blackman Kirsty Blackman Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Economy), SNP Deputy Leader, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Economy) 2:15, 25 Ionawr 2018

I beg to move amendment 107, in clause 9, page 6, line 24, leave out “may make regulations” and insert

“must make regulations following consultation with relevant stakeholders”.

This amendment requires the Treasury to consult relevant stakeholders before making regulations giving effect to an arrangement for a preferential tariff.

To explain the reasoning behind our amendment I need to mention a couple of things in the clause. It is headed, “Preferential rates: arrangements with countries or territories outside UK” and the explanatory note explains more about those:

“This clause broadly covers any arrangements, international agreements or memoranda of understanding”.

Therefore it relates to whenever there is a move away from a most favoured nation tariff into a free trade agreement, or some other form of preferential tariff rate.

This short amendment would make two changes to the Government’s intentions around the clause. First, it would leave out “may make regulations” and insert “must make regulations”. In subsection (1), the Bill states that,

“the Treasury may make regulations to give effect to the provision made by the arrangements”.

If there has been an international agreement, surely the Treasury must make regulations, because that would be sensible. That is the first change we suggest.

The second change we suggest is on consultation. It is clear that there has not been the right level of consultation. The Government have said that if they are varying the rate of import duty downwards rather than upwards, there should be a less rigorous procedure, but if the rate of import duty is varied downwards, that may have a greater effect on our local producers and manufacturers. The amendment asks for there to be “consultation with relevant stakeholders” in advance of not just international agreements, but any of these changes.

When the Government are deciding to make international regulations, it would be useful if they first consulted the House using the existing processes. I understand that most Governments across the world make trade regulations with the authority of the House, rather than simply by the authority of the Executive. In the absence of those kinds of changes, which are outside the scope of the Bill, we are asking for the Government to definitely make the regulations—if they are bound by an international treaty or agreement, it would be sensible to do so—but to consult with relevant stakeholders. We want to put that duty of consultation on the Government.