‘Stripped-back' Trade Bill alarms campaigners

The government has published a new version of its Trade Bill without any provisions regarding how future international trade agreements will be negotiated or approved, prompting alarm from campaigners.

In a similar way to the previous version of the bill, it only gives the government the power to roll over existing free trade deals, known as ‘trade continuity agreements’, that were signed while the UK was a member of the EU. Secondary legislation required to implement those agreements will require a debate in the House of Commons and House of Lords.

The Department for International Trade has made clear that the new bill “cannot be used to implement a future free trade agreement with countries which do not have a free trade agreement with the EU, such as the USA”. 

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