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Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership

Volume 692: debated on Thursday 15 April 2021

What recent assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the UK joining the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership. (914112)

Joining the CPTPP is a massive opportunity for UK businesses, in particular those in areas such as financial services and digital, where the rules are world-leading. It will also cut tariffs for businesses in vital industries such as cars and whisky and help to drive our exports-led, jobs-led recovery from covid.

The very first of the 238 questions put to the Secretary of State in a letter from my right hon. Friend the Member for Islington South and Finsbury (Emily Thornberry) on accession to the CPTPP asked her whether the UK will have the right to negotiate exemptions from those provisions of the agreement to which we do not wish to accede and amendments to those provisions to which we wish to make improvements, or whether it is her intention to join the CPTPP accepting all its current provisions in full. What is the Secretary of State’s answer?

The CPTPP is a very high-standards agreement, and the rules will have huge benefits for the UK. The reality is that UK products such as beef and lamb have been locked out of overseas markets for unfair reasons, so it is in our interests to sign up to a high-standards, good-rules agreement.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Eltham (Clive Efford) said, there are at least 238 questions that the Secretary of State has to address on the subject of this agreement, and I look forward to receiving her answers soon, but today I want to ask her one simple one: can she guarantee that this Parliament will have as much time to scrutinise the proposed terms of accession to CPTPP before a vote on whether or not to approve them as the Australia, Canada and New Zealand Parliaments had before their respective votes?

I thank the right hon. Lady for her question—she clearly comes from a profession where she was paid by the number of questions she asked. I will be delighted to answer all those questions and more when we publish the public bundle, which will include the scoping assessment and our negotiation objectives. We will publish that at the time of launching our negotiations, and we will also have full parliamentary scrutiny, including by the statutory Trade and Agriculture Commission, in line with parliamentary systems across the world.