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House of Commons Hansard
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Written Statements
30 June 2020
Volume 678

Written Statements

Tuesday 30 June 2020

Cabinet Office

The European Communities (Designation) Order 2020

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An error has been identified in the laying letter for The European Communities (Designation) Order 2020, and as a result it was laid under an incorrect procedure. The Order should have been laid under the negative procedure but the laying letter indicated that there would be no parliamentary procedure. This was due to an administrative error.

A correction has been issued under Votes and Proceedings 23 June 2020.

The statutory instrument was laid on 27 May 2020 and the House authorities have agreed that they consider this instrument to be laid under the negative procedure from the date of laying. I wish to inform the House that the 40-day laying period ends on 3 July 2020.

[HCWS325]

International Trade

Negotiations on the UK's Future Relationship with the US: Update

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The second UK-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiating round took place from 15-26 June 2020.

Talks continued to be positive and constructive, with progress being made towards a comprehensive agreement. Discussions spanned the majority of areas covered by the FTA, with further sessions coming over the next two weeks on the remaining major policy areas. This follows almost 20 intersessional meetings held in between rounds one and two.

The Government are clear there is no set deadline for this agreement. Quality is more important than speed. Any deal the Government strikes must be fair, reciprocal and ultimately in the best interests of the British people and the economy. Furthermore, the Government remain clear on protecting the NHS and not compromising on the UK’s high environmental protection, animal welfare and food safety standards.

During the round, talks advanced across a number of chapters and teams are now into detailed discussions on text.

There was good progress on a dedicated SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) chapter. This included agreement that the next formal UK-US SME dialogue will be held in Boston in October 2020.

UK negotiators also underlined the importance of high ambition on services, with financial services particularly vital to any final agreement.

On professional business services, both sides agreed to go further than existing precedent and agree provisions that reflect the strength of the UK-US relationship. This included a discussion on how best to support regulators pursue closer collaboration on the recognition of qualifications and licencing.

There was also discussion of specific proposals that might benefit the legal services sector.

More work needs to be done and both sides committed in the round to a full programme of engagement ahead of round three. Talks scheduled over the coming weeks include rules of origin, market access, digital, telecoms, intellectual property and business mobility.

The third negotiating round is expected to take place at the end of July.

Below is a summary list of those areas discussed in the round, which continued to take place through video conferencing:

General co-ordination

Trade remedies

Services sectors—professional business services

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Services sectors—transport

Anti-corruption

Competition

Cross cutting services

Financial services

Good regulatory practice (GRP)

Customs and trade facilitation

Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS)

Investment

Legal group—core text

Sectoral annexes

Environment

State owned enterprises

Technical barriers to trade

Other issues—including innovation and women’s economic empowerment

Economics

[HCWS324]