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

Volume 835: debated on Tuesday 16 January 2024


Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland Legislative Consent sought.

Clause 3: Procurement

Amendment 1

Moved by

1: Clause 3, page 2, line 8, leave out “and (b)” and insert “or

(b) funded by an international organisation of which the United Kingdom is a member to a lesser extent, and”

My Lords, this group and the next group of amendments follow debates that took place in Committee, and I am very grateful for the Minister’s response then and for his subsequent letters that have further amplified the discussion about this. I apologise for delaying the House—not for very long, I hope—simply, in the case of both amendments, not to make any point of principle contradicting what is in the Bill, but to try to ensure that the meaning of the Bill and its intentions are as clear as we can possibly make them.

The first two amendments, Amendments 1 and 2, work together to rewrite that bit of the Bill to state that the exempt contracts would be, in this instance, where they are “wholly or mainly funded” by an international organisation, or

“funded by an international organisation of which the United Kingdom is a member to a lesser extent”—

so that funding is to a lesser extent—and is “required to be” under a procedure adopted by that international organisation. Article 15 of the CPTPP has a requirement that we want to transpose into our legislation. It states that a procurement that is not covered by individual countries’ own procurement rules would be one that is

“funded by an international organisation or foreign or international grants, loans or other assistance to which procurement procedures or conditions of the international organisation or donor apply”.

What we are looking to do in this instance is to reproduce that, so that the exemption for contracts under our Procurement Act matches what is in the CPTPP.

The government view was that the CPTPP just says “funded”, while our general approach is to try to clarify, to a greater extent, that it should say “wholly or mainly funded”—namely, more than 50%—which is consistent with what we do in relation to the rule on the general procurement agreement. However, the point that I have now reached, which I put to my noble friend via these amendments, is that it is not necessarily the case that an organisation such as the World Bank has to be a majority funder in order for its funding—and that of others with which its funding is associated, which might be other providers of grants or loans, or the recipient country in one form or another—to be required to be conducted under its procedures. That being the case, should we reflect the CPTPP rules by saying that either a procurement is “wholly or mainly funded” by the international organisation, or, if it is funded to a lesser extent, that it is required to be subject to its procedures, and that that would give rise to an exemption under our procurement rules?

That is the point of the amendment. I am sure my noble friend will appreciate the rather fine distinctions, but I wonder whether he might agree that, at the very least, we want to be absolutely clear that, if a procurement has to be conducted under the rules of an international organisation, such as the World Bank, it should be exempt from our Procurement Act requirements. I beg to move Amendment 1.

My Lords, I begin by declaring my interests, which are very clearly listed on the Lords’ register. I have interests in limited companies and companies that are active in CPTPP countries, but I do not believe there is any conflict.

Yes, my apologies. Before I begin, I would like to declare my interests, which are very clearly listed on the Lords’ register. I have interests in limited companies and other companies active in CPTPP countries, but I do not believe there is any conflict of interest in this process today.

I will also say how excited I am about being back here today to cover Report stage of the CPTPP Bill. This incredible collective of millions of people, representing trillions of pounds-worth of trade, coming together will give huge benefit to us, and I am very excited about the opportunity for this great nation to add our trading muscle to what I think will be a phenomenal collective.

Importantly, I give a great deal of thanks to noble Members of this House who have contributed so much to the painstaking work which goes into crafting a Bill of this type and ensuring we come to the right conclusions in the right way. I know there have been a large number of you, many of whom are present today, but I particularly note the noble Lords, Lord McNicol and Lord Purvis, from the Opposition Benches, for their extremely collaborative and constructive input into the debates. My noble friend Lord Lansley, who we have just heard from, brings a wealth of experience, particularly on procurement. I am very grateful for his input. My noble friends Lady McIntosh, Lord Holmes, Lady Lawlor and a number of others, including the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter, and the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, have engaged with me. We still have one more stage after Report and I will be delighted to continue engaging with any Members of this House, or indeed any groups that noble Lords think it would be useful for me to engage with.

I will also set the scene briefly for the debates we are going to have on many of these respective issues. My noble friend Lady McIntosh is in her usual place, and I apologise, because I have been trying to reach her over the last few hours, but we have not had a chance to have a discussion. I reference this point because what happens today in terms of how we trade, or how we manage our own standards in this country, does not change tomorrow. I think it is important to summarise at the beginning of this debate that acceding to CPTPP in no way derogates our standards or our ability to control our standards and, indeed, our destiny. We have been very careful to ensure that the processes are indeed very separate.

I know that we will have these debates later, but it is worth re-emphasising this important point, which I think is sometimes lost in the excitement of CPTPP—the argument that somehow our standards, import requirements and so on change, when they do not. All food and drink products imported into the UK will still have to meet the respective food safety and biosecurity standards for the UK. We are not having to change any of our food standards as a result of joining CPTPP, and it is important to emphasise on these well-discussed points that hormone-treated beef and chlorine-washed chicken are banned in the UK and will not be allowed to enter the UK market.

I am very grateful to various agencies such as the Food Standards Agency, the Trade and Agriculture Commission, the International Agreements Committee and other groups that have been extremely focused on ensuring that these facts are properly reported. I am grateful to them for the backing that they have given me in ensuring that those statements are clear.

It is also worth pointing out that CPTPP preserves the right to regulate to protect human, animal and plant life and health. The TAC report says that the CPTPP does not require the UK to change its levels of statutory protection in relation to animal or plant life or health, animal welfare or environmental protection. I am well aware that noble Lords wish to cover these issues later in this debate, but it is important to set that scene.

There is one area I would like to draw on now, in advance of these discussions, regarding palm oil. I reassure the House that liberalising palm oil tariffs with Malaysia does not undermine the UK’s environmental credentials. We remain committed to supporting the sustainable production of palm oil. In 2021, 72% of UK palm oil imports were certified as sustainable, up from 16% in 2010.

This brings me to a crucial point, which I hope will run as a theme throughout these debates. It is through free trade—through interlocution with our trading partners, and through sitting around the table with other countries to improve their terms of trade—that we have the legitimacy and the opportunity to align other countries in the world with our values that we hold so high. It is really important that noble Lords bear in mind the relevance of the various structures around CPTPP and look to the future rather than the past and how countries have operated their own standards relating to our own.

I turn to Amendments 1 and 2, tabled by my noble friend Lord Lansley. We have had a number of discussions within the department about the opportunity to tighten up the language. I am convinced of the need to ensure that there are limited mechanisms for organisations to use partial funding from international organisations to derogate their responsibilities to our own procurement responsibilities. That is very clear. As I work through this process, I am assuming that we are aligned in this great ambition, whereas my officials are very clear that my noble friend’s amendments, while no doubt drafted with the best of intentions, would not achieve this. They are also very clear about any slight changes to our wordings compared with the CPTPP wordings or standard wordings relating to our own procurement legislation, which my noble friend himself worked on. I bow absolutely to his superior knowledge of this section, but Clause 3, which deals with the schedule, clarifies that “funded” means majority funded. This is necessary to ensure that the exemption applies only to contracts under an international organisation’s procedures that are majority funded by that organisation. It is important to point that out.

The amendments would risk creating uncertainty and widening the exemption, taking more contracts out of the scope of the UK’s procurement rules than is required to fulfil the UK’s obligations under CPTPP. That is our concern. By not being clear that

“funded by an international organisation”

under CPTPP means more than 50% funded, it could be that even if an international organisation was providing a tiny amount—say, 1% of funding—to a contract under its procedures, it could be exempt from following our domestic rules on procurement, which I do not believe any member of this House would wish. We do not consider that this is the intention of the exemption in the government procurement chapter of CPTPP.

I am very comfortable having further conversations outside of this debate and am extremely supportive of the ambitions of my noble friend. However, genuinely, we have worked through this in some detail. I believe that the wording we have will ensure that, as far as possible, procurement contracts will be captured by a procurement regime in the way that we would want them to be, and as noble Lords and this House expect. I therefore ask my noble friend to withdraw Amendment 1 and not move Amendment 2.

I am most grateful to my noble friend. He explained very well why the Government want to clarify this in this way. I hope he is right, and it is wholly consistent with CPTPP, although it is not precisely the same wording—it adds additional clarification. My noble friend made typically generous remarks about those of us who have been, as he says, painstakingly working our way through the technicalities of this Bill, and I am grateful for that. Some of our noble friends and colleagues on the International Agreements Committee are elsewhere with their committee this afternoon, but I know that they will read his remarks and want to thank him very much for that.

I take my noble friend’s point that, to the extent that procurements are brought within the scope of our procurement rules, they are in line with the general procurement agreement and best practice. In so far as we can, we want to bring as many of the recipient countries of international organisations’ funding within general procurement agreement rules, so that they are following best practice. We should aim to have more countries following those rules and to operate in ways consistent with how we do things than to leave them outside.

On that basis, I understand and accept my noble friend’s points and beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 1 withdrawn.

Amendment 2 not moved.

Clause 4: Designations of origin and geographical indications

Amendment 3

Moved by

3: Clause 4, page 3, line 13, leave out “established by use” and insert “in use prior to that date”

I hope that I will be equally quick on this amendment, as there are points of more substance and principle to be debated later.

We discussed Amendment 3 in Committee. Essentially, it relates to a set of circumstances in which trademarks and GIs—geographical indications—may come into conflict and the circumstances in which the Secretary of State can make a decision that there would be confusion between the two. The point is that the GIs should be compared to existing trademarks and registered trademarks; to circumstances where, on the date which the GI is submitted, there are applications for the registration of trademarks; and, as the legislation refers to, where trademarks are “established by use”.

My problem is that nowhere in trademark legislation do the words “established by use” appear. My noble friend’s letter to me of 10 January said that “established by use” refers to unregistered trademarks. We appear to be putting into statute the concept that where a trademark has been used, it can be established but not registered, and I am not sure that that is helpful. What is more helpful would be to indicate that the Secretary of State should have a discretion to look at a GI that may come into conflict with an unregistered trademark—there are such things—and where confusion would result. My noble friend says that they may just use a trademark once, and the fact that it had been used once at some point in the past may lead to this confusion. As the legislation is drafted, the Secretary of State would actually have the discretion to judge these matters and to say whether confusion would arise. If a trademark has not been used prior to that date in any substantial way, I think the Secretary of State could ignore it and say that the GI has a meaning that people will readily understand.

I have a problem with the term “established by use” and think that “in use prior to that date” is more straight- forward and has the meaning we are looking for; “established by use” runs a risk of establishing that, in law, trademarks can be established by use. That is not something that the trademarks legislation currently admits of. I am not an expert in intellectual property matters, but I have talked to one or two who are, as we do in this place. I think there may be a problem with this, but I stand to be corrected by my noble friend. For the moment, I beg to move Amendment 3.

My Lords, I cannot claim any expertise in trademarks or their registration, but I think there is force in the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Lansley. The expression “established by use” is slightly vague, whereas the words that the noble Lord would substitute—of it being actively “in use prior to that date”—make the point rather better. I support the amendment, for what it is worth, in the interests of clarity.

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, is right: the Trade Marks Act 1994 at no point uses the words “established by use”. However, the Act makes specific provision for registered trademarks, whereas those established by use—as the noble Lord said—would presumably be unregistered and, therefore, subject to common law through the concept of passing off. It would be interesting to hear the Minister’s comments on passing off and whether that covers it.

I want to pick up the main point of this amendment and, specifically, geographical indications. I think this may be the only time on Report that we will be able to get some words into Hansard on that. The noble Lord, Lord Lansley, picked up the technical part, but there is a wider set of issues on geographical indications on which I am interested to hear the Minister’s response.

When this agreement was announced in October 2020, the then Trade Secretary Liz Truss MP promised that 77 specialist UK food and drink products would be guaranteed protected geographical indication status, along with the seven that were carried over from the previous EU-Japan trade deal. The former DIT Minister said that the protections would be in place by May 2021 for all 77 new products, which included many iconic British brands, such as Scottish beef, Cornish pasties and Welsh lamb—to name but a few. The DIT also boasted that, thanks to Liz Truss’s agreement, the UK would benefit from fast-track processes for securing brand protection that would not have been possible under the EU-Japan deal. It said:

“The EU must negotiate each new GI individually on a case-by-case basis”.

The EU has added 84 extra products to its protected list since October 2020, including a number in the last few months, but I understand that Kemi Badenoch’s department has not yet secured brand protection for a single one of the 77 products originally promised. The number of EU GIs with Japan now stands at 299, which offers them protection, while the UK is still stuck with only the seven protected products inherited from the EU-Japan deal. Given this, how can UK producers of geographically indicated products be confident in the measures contained within the CPTPP?

Perhaps I might add something before the Minister speaks. Having listened with interest to my noble and learned friend Lord Hope, and with my limited intellectual property knowledge, I am concerned about the use of the words “established by use”. As far as I know, they do not appear elsewhere and are certainly not part of existing legislation. To bring them into this legislation, almost by a side wind, would be somewhat unfortunate.

As always, I thank my noble friend Lord Lansley and all contributors to the debate on this amendment. It is very relevant, in my view; however, I am comfortable keeping the words “established by use” in the Bill as printed, rather than using

“in use prior to that date”.

My reason is simple and was pointed out by my noble friend: a single use of a name could be construed as giving the same protections as a trademark which, through an effective accumulation of good will and the establishment of its use, has been protected under these laws. We are quite comfortable with the wording.

I am aware that there is no reference to the concept of “established by use” in the Trade Marks Act 1994— I am surprised that there is no lawyer in this House jumping up to support me at this crucial moment, just when I need one. They seem not to be in their usual places but they would say, were they here, that this is an extremely well-established part of trademarks law. As I understand it—I am comfortable to be corrected, but my officials assure me of this—elsewhere, in the amended legislation relating to unregistered trademarks, is the common-law tort of passing off, which relates to good will. I am also reassured that in GI legislation—for example, Article 14(2) of the assimilated regulation 1151/ 2012—the concept of “established by use” is written and codified.

From our point of view, it is important to ensure that we protect our trademarks and that we use geographical indicators where appropriate. I will come on to the point raised by the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, in a moment. Having spent a great deal of time working on this, I ask my noble friend to withdraw his amendment because I do not believe that by changing the phraseology we will give the greater protection that we want to our trademark-using organisations, businesses and people, and allow the system to function effectively. I am very convinced of that. We have a line in our next amendment that will allow us to discuss geographical indicators in slightly more detail, so I will cover the points raised by the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, at that point if he is content with that.

I am grateful to all who took part in this very short debate, and in particular to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, and the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Butler-Sloss, for their contributions on the legal aspects.

Unfortunately, I have not had an opportunity to look at the reference my noble friend refers to elsewhere in the GI regulations. That was not an aspect of this to which he referred in his letter of 10 January. He referred to the concept of the tort of passing off as a justification for it. My problem was that putting something in a statute that is justified by reference to a common-law definition seems problematic, since one might be assumed to be trying to create a statutory definition. I did not think the definition existed; I may be proved wrong about that.

I am just hopeful that it is not the case that one use of an unregistered trademark before the date of a GI means that it is established by use. It must be defined somewhere else and I hope that that is what my noble friend is suggesting—that “established by use” in relation to a GI is somewhere codified and defined. That would establish a degree of protection, and I hope we do not subsequently encounter circumstances in which the inclusion of this language causes a problem in relation to those who are responsible for distinguishing between registered and unregistered trademarks.

I remember, and my noble friend will recall from the debate we had in Committee, that we set out to secure GI recognition in the UK-Japan economic partnership agreement. We need to get on with it. Equally, in the UK-Australia deal we set out to secure protection for our GI indications. But it was made clear in the Australia deal that we would do so only in so far as, and to the extent that, the European Union secured protection for its GIs, and I am not sure that we have made the progress there that we should have.

These are very important aspects of our potential trade advantage and, if we are going to maximise our trade benefits, we need our geographical indications to be protected and we need to be using them in export markets. I should declare my registered interest as co-chair of the UK-Japan 21st Century Group. I will be in Japan at the beginning of next month and I will make it my business to ask about what progress we, and they, are making in protecting our GIs in Japan. For the moment, we thank my noble friend—

Before the noble Lord sits down, I am unaccustomed to supporting the Minister in these areas, as he and the House are aware, but, having glanced at, regulation 2019/787, regarding the relationship between trademarks and geographical indicators, does indeed have the definition of “established by use”. I am not a lawyer, as I very willingly admit, but if the Government have had the good sense to transpose what we had in the EU legislation into domestic legislation, then that might satisfy the noble Lord.

I am grateful to the noble Lord, and it may indeed satisfy me as long as we do not abolish it any time soon. With all those helpful comments from noble Lords, I beg leave to withdraw Amendment 3.

Amendment 3 withdrawn.

Amendment 4

Moved by

4: Clause 4, page 3, line 24, at end insert—

“1B. In a case where the protected designation of origin or protected geographical indication has been the subject of an application for approval of an amendment to the product specification under Article 53 which resulted in a change to the protected name, the reference in paragraph 1A to the application for registration under Article 49 is to be read as a reference to the application for approval of the amendment to the name under Article 49 as applied by Article 53(2) (or, in a case where there has been more than one such application, the latest of those).”Member's explanatory statement

This amendment clarifies the test for cancelling a protected designation of origin or geographical indication where the registered name has been the subject of a name change application; a cancellation will be possible only if the grounds for cancellation existed at the date of the name change application (rather than the date of the original application for registration).

My Lords, Amendment 4 is a minor technical amendment that the Government have introduced. I will read out my brief to be clear, because it is quite technical. The Bill as currently drafted may lead to a degree of uncertainty for decision-makers over the date that should be used when assessing whether the new grounds for cancellation of a geographical indication apply in a case where the GI has successfully undergone a name change. Under the current drafting, it could be argued that, in such a case, the date on which the original application to register the GI was submitted under Article 49 of Regulation 1151/2012 should be the date used to carry out the assessment and not the date when the name change application under Article 53 was submitted. This amendment addresses that uncertainty by making it clear that the assessment should be carried out based on the factual position relating to the date when the name change application was submitted, rather than the date the original Article 49 application was submitted.

I will translate that a little. The provision is effectively looking at the date on which the name change is submitted, rather than the original name. If I have a GI—“Johnson’s Water” or whatever it may be—registered in 1990 and then change the name to “Lord Johnson’s Water” this year, then the reference would be made to the point at which the name change application was made, rather than the status at the time of the original GI. It is a clarification which we think is important, and I trust my officials’ view on that.

I will just answer briefly the very helpful comments raised about Japan and geographical indicators. I would be extremely grateful to my noble friend Lord Lansley for making representation to the authorities in Japan to speed the process up. We are fully committed to ensuring that our GIs are protected in Japan; it is part of the agreements we have undertaken, but these things take time to effect. We are doing everything we can to be sure that those indicators are protected. Anything that he can do to speed that process up will be gratefully received by this Government. I beg to move.

My Lords, as we have heard, this government Amendment 4 is really a relatively minor and technical amendment, so there is not much to add, except for some questions we hope the Minister will respond to. How often do the Government expect this test to be utilised, and are there any potential ramifications they will come across? What happens if the name change application is not successful—is that a possibility? Finally, if a name changes from a geographical indication into a generic term, does this amendment apply?

I thank the noble Lord for that point. I am very comfortable having a more detailed discussion about GIs in principle. It is worth noting that many countries, including those in the CPTPP, do not have necessary GI processes. Sadly, too few do, so there is a great push on behalf of this Government to ensure that we advance the cause of geographical indicators to ensure that our rights are protected. It is correct that it is possible for a name change to be rejected; it is a process that takes time, as with any intellectual property issue. It is a detailed and thorough process to ensure that we can be comfortable that names, trademarks, GIs and so on are properly protected, and the research has been done. It can be six months or it can be a year, which is why we have built in this provision to ensure that it is the point of application rather than the point of approval that the data is referring to. That makes sense.

There have not been any cancellations of GIs undertaken by this Government, or indeed recently. I will check that, but I hope I am accurate; if I am not, I will certainly correct myself in the Library. The question from the noble Lord is about whether this is something that happens regularly, and is a constant and ongoing issue. Maybe there have been one or two exceptional examples but as far as I am aware, it is a relatively straightforward process; it seems quite uncontentious so far.

These regulations simplify the processes in respect of how we operate with the CPTPP. Often, we look at the activities that will take place in this country, which is right. How to protect our own GIs is what we are working on domestically. Really, this allows us to export the whole principle of geographical indicators—the wonderful concepts of Scottish salmon and Scottish whisky, to name just two enormously important and well-branded products. It allows us to work with our partner countries in the CPTPP to ensure that those brands and concepts are well protected, because a GI does not give us any strength unless it is domestically registered and the domestic legal system respects these principles. I therefore hope very much that the House will support me on this technical amendment and on the principle that it projects.

Amendment 4 agreed.

Amendment 5

Moved by

5: After Clause 5, insert the following new Clause—

“Report: accession of the People’s Republic of China to the CPTPP(1) Before any decision is made by the Government of the United Kingdom on the accession of the People’s Republic of China to the CPTPP under Chapter 30 of the CPTPP, the Secretary of State must publish a report assessing the impact of China’s accession on the United Kingdom.(2) Both Houses of Parliament must be presented with a motion for resolution on the report under subsection (1).”Member's explanatory statement

This amendment seeks to allow for parliamentary scrutiny of the prospective accession of the People’s Republic of China to the CPTPP - the Government of which has already applied to join, and whose application is to be considered. Scrutiny of future accessions is not provided for in the bill or through the CRaG process.

My Lords, I am grateful to your Lordships’ House for giving me the opportunity to address this issue again. It is an amendment which I laid before Committee, and it was very ably moved there by the noble Lord, Lord Leong. I was grateful to him for doing that. I also thank the Minister, who was good enough to have a meeting with me only last week to discuss the terms of the amendment to see if any agreement could be reached. I should also express my thanks to the co-sponsors of what is an all-party amendment: the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy of The Shaws, the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, and the noble Lord, Lord Blencathra, who is on his way from Cumbria but hopes to be here before the conclusion of the debate; we shall see. I also heard from the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, that this is something that the Greens support, and I see that a letter has been sent to Conservative colleagues today by the former leader of the Conservative Party Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP. He says that the amendment remedies the problem in a proportionate way that goes with the grain of government policy.

What is the problem that we are trying to solve? That is what I want to address. When the noble Lords, Lord McNicol and Lord Purvis, made excellent interventions from their respective Front Benches in Committee, they underlined the need for parliamentary scrutiny. That is what this amendment is all about. It is straightforward and non-binding on the Government, but it enables both Houses of Parliament to debate, vote and give their advice on an issue of considerable importance involving geopolitics, strategic dependency and national security.

For the purpose of transparency, I should refer to my non-financial interest in the register that I have been sanctioned by the People’s Republic of China, along with six other parliamentarians, including the current Security Minister, a former leader of the Conservative Party, and a current Minister from the department of the noble Lord, Lord Johnson, Nusrat Ghani MP. Of course, in your Lordships’ House, my colleague the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy of The Shaws, has been sanctioned too. In my case, it was for speaking out against the Uighur genocide, the use of Uighur slave labour in Xinjiang, the destruction of Hong Kong’s democracy and the incarceration of more than 1,700 pro-democracy supporters, including the British citizen and businessman Jimmy Lai, a case that I raised earlier today with the Foreign Secretary. Therefore, I guess that I am not agnostic about the PRC and its mendacity.

As I indicated in a recent debate, I believe that our parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, reflecting the work of this House’s own International Relations and Defence Select Committee and the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, was right to warn us of the dangers posed by the People’s Republic of China. In truth, the Government have still not resolved the problem of what the noble Lord, Lord Patten of Barnes, calls “cakeism”. He used that word in evidence to our International Relations and Defence Select Committee. What he meant by that was that we wanted to deepen our trade links—something that the noble Lord, Lord Johnson, pursues with great alacrity—but simultaneously we want to identify the threats and challenges to our security, including infiltration and subversion of institutions, even CCP spies operating across Parliament. This amendment would provide parliamentarians with the opportunity to probe whether the Government have acted with due regard to questions of national security and our long-term interests.

To be clear, as an admirer of Richard Cobden, I believe in free trade. It is generally a force for good but, as Cobden himself noted in his opposition to both the slave trade and the opium trade, it is not to be practised without regard to other considerations. His outstanding opposition to the moneyed interests that profiteered from the misery of the iniquitous opium trade led to a major debate in Parliament in the 19th century. It lasted for several days. With the combined efforts across the House at that time of the young Disraeli and Gladstone, it led to a parliamentary victory that upended government support for the trade. Given the long-term consequences of the opium trade for the UK’s standing in China and the Far East, it is a pity that they were not listened to earlier.

For the avoidance of any doubt, I support the principles that underpin the CPTPP, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, and I support the Bill. But, as a parliamentarian, I believe we have a right to be heard on the subject of the accession of the PRC to the CPTPP. This is not merely hypothetical. The People’s Republic of China applied to join in 2021 and is the next country in line. It is not possible, as the noble Lord suggested to me when we met, for Parliament be able to vote on this under the terms of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010—CRaG, as it is often known. Regrettably, that process cannot be applied to future accessions to a treaty that has already been entered into and is in force. It was an issue which the House highlighted during the debates on the genocide amendment to the Trade Act.

What other arguments might be deployed against this amendment? First, it specifically applies to China. Yes, because China and the CCP present unique challenges. Let us imagine for a moment that a new golden era dawns and that, instead of threatening Taiwan with an invasion, the PRC decides to emulate it and to introduce the sort of multiparty politics that led to the election of President-elect Lee last Sunday. Let us assume for a moment that Chairman Xi Jinping runs for election in a free and fair election. That certainly would change the situation and would mean that this hypothetical would never have to come into force.

But it is more likely that the PRC will continue to threaten or maybe invade Taiwan, continue to be in breach of the Sino-British treaty guaranteeing Hong Kong’s “one country, two systems” democracy and continue to carry out genocide and use Uighur slave labour in Xinjiang. It is uniquely accused by resolution of the House of Commons of perpetrating genocide in Xinjiang, and serious human rights abuses continue to be embedded in PRC supply chains. So China is not a likeminded CPTPP partner. It has made clear its intention to replace the despised liberal, open and rules-based order by authoritarian hegemony. If it is admitted to the CPTPP, it would be the largest economy and the dominant actor and could block the future accession of other democracies. China has the largest economy by a mile. It accounts for 53% of global GDP and 30% of trade.

Secondly, PRC entry would add to dependency and diminished resilience, with the dangers we saw during Covid and the dangers Europe has experienced during the war in Ukraine. Imagine how membership would enable it to withstand sanctions in the event of an invasion of Taiwan. Thirdly, those with vested interests argue that PRC membership would be a driver for economic and political reform in that country. It has not done so so far, and nor would it do so in the future. Believing that is like believing in Alice in Wonderland. China’s membership of the United Nations Human Rights Council has not changed its attitude towards breaches of human rights the world over.

Fourthly, Ministers say that this is hypothetical. The PRC applied to join in 2021 and is next in line to be considered. It has been lobbying hard. Now is the time to make it clear that, although the United Kingdom Parliament may not be able to block accession, we will miss no opportunity to signal and speak about the consequences.

Fifthly, I have already explained why CRaG would not give both Houses a debate and a vote, but, despite the Minister’s protestation that this is an innovation being proposed in this amendment—heaven forbid—that is not entirely the case. Free trade agreements and bilateral agreements are often subject to parliamentary approval. In 2021, in response to the criticism of CRaG, the Grimstone rule, named for the noble Lord’s predecessor, was introduced. It allows for debate when the International Agreements Committee has published a report. This is also an, albeit inadequate, provision based on my amendment to the Trade Act, which would allow for an FTA—a free trade agreement—to be considered where genocide has been alleged.

None of this applies in the case of a plurilateral trade agreement involving a state that is accused of being in breach of the 1948 convention on the crime of genocide. CRaG would not require the Government to produce an impact assessment, nor allow, crucially, as this amendment does, for a parliamentary vote.

The movers are not seeking to change the long-standing United Kingdom policy not to tie the Government’s hands on trade. Whatever one may think about that, it is not what this amendment does. It does not tie the hands of the Government. Hence the amendment is not binding, but it does allow Parliament—this place and another place—to speak and to vote. This is in accord with Article 30.4 of the CPTPP, which says that accession may be subject to

“applicable legal procedures of each Party and acceding State or separate customs territory”.

So this amendment is compatible with the CPTPP. It is compatible with government policy and, indeed, I would argue, with the best traditions of parliamentary scrutiny, oversight and accountability.

Many of us were privileged this morning to be at the memorial service for a late Member of this House, the revered Baroness Boothroyd. I served under Baroness Boothroyd when she was Speaker in another place. She was quoted this morning, in the memorial service, as giving advice to parliamentarians to always stand up for the principle of free speech, whatever the price may be—to always stand up for free speech and ensure that the privileges of parliamentarians are not undermined. This amendment would allow Parliament to speak. It would allow Parliament to vote. It would be in the best traditions of parliamentary scrutiny, oversight and accountability.

We are not alone in thinking that this needs to be addressed. This is what the Japanese Minister of Finance said:

“China ... is far removed from the free, fair and highly transparent world of the CPTPP; the chances that it can join are close to zero”.

Why? Because it disregards labour law. It disregards environmental obligations. It would be unable to meet CPTPP data transfer obligations and standards—a point the noble Lords, Lord McNicol and Lord Purvis, made in Committee. It would certainly block Taiwan’s participation. It will continue to act coercively and against the interests of the free world. Its track record at the United Nations and at the WTO shows that it is derelict in embracing the values of those organisations and the values that this House stands for.

Maybe it is understandable that, 20 years ago when it joined the WTO, we were prepared to give the PRC the benefit of the doubt. But, like the Bourbons, we have learned nothing if we still think we can give it the benefit of the doubt. Today is an opportunity for Parliament to stand up for its rights to be able to speak on these issues, and to be able to vote to do so as well. I beg to move.

My Lords, I support this amendment. I should declare a number of matters. One is that I am the director of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, and we have taken quite strong positions with regard to China’s abuses of human rights, particularly in recent years with regard to the persecution of the Uighurs and in relation to its behaviour and conduct with regard to Hong Kong and its breach of the Sino- British agreement.

I declare also that I am the chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, which is proud to have among its professors Laura Murphy, an American who lives here in Britain with her husband and who is one of the most well-recognised experts in the field of forced labour.

Professor Murphy’s work on China has been extraordinary. Others in this House who have read it will be aware of the depth of her work and the reliability of her research, which has informed the State Department in the United States and has been used by government departments here. Her work shows that forced labour is part of the problem of contemporary China. It is certainly part of the problem of the abuses of the Uighur people.

I support this amendment. Most of us in this House would agree that we have to avoid any dependence on authoritarian states. It is for that reason that some of us have deep concerns about not having the opportunity in future to scrutinise the ways in which China might be embraced in some of the multilateral—plurilateral—institutions, which it is very assiduously seeking in our contemporary world. The China of today is not the China that joined the World Trade Organization 20 years ago, as described by my friend, the noble Lord, Lord Alton.

China is displaying, under the presidency of President Xi, that it is seeking regional hegemony. The belt and road programme has shown the extent to which it has created an indebtedness among many nations which is then reflected in other things. We saw it happening recently in the motion that was placed before the United Nations General Assembly in relation to the crime of aggression committed by Russia with regard to Ukraine. We saw it in the vote that was taken on that issue, with all those countries that are indebted to China and that are in its purview because of the ways in which it has been involved in the building of infrastructure and so on across Africa and other places. I am afraid it is an example of that long arm affecting issues that should concern all of us, such as an illegal war. The extent to which China is seeking to enlarge its hegemony should be a source of concern to all of us.

I am not a hawk with regard to China. I believe that we must continue to have dialogue and that it is fruitful to have dialogue. However, we should be very cautious about being drawn into something which will give opportunities to a nation that is not respectful of that rules-based order which was being discussed earlier today. It is being very inventive and innovative in the breaking of the rules that we thought should apply to all nations.

The arguments have been very well made by the noble Lord, Lord Alton—the importance of us having the opportunity to debate, scrutinise and raise issues that are not known to everyone, particularly with regard to the abuses of human rights. We like to imagine that engagement can lead to a raising of standards. At the moment that does not seem to be happening with regard to China. We have been seeing it, as was just referred to, in what is happening with the introduction of national security laws and so on that are being used against trading people such as Jimmy Lai, a great entrepreneur himself. So I endorse and adopt the arguments that have been made by the noble Lord, Lord Alton.

I just mention that in applying to join the CPTPP there can be exceptions allowed and one of them is national security. When I see national security being referred to as a potential reason why there might be some opt-outs for some of the commitments one would expect in any agreement, it worries me because of what we have seen China doing with its national security law that it has been using in Hong Kong.

I adopt the arguments that have been made. I press the House to agree that this is a very sensible amendment. It is not asking very much; it is asking us to do what we normally do, which is to scrutinise and question some of the things that might be being done by our Government.

My Lords, I received the email from the noble Lord, Lord Alton, trying to persuade me to support the amendment, and I must say that I am very reluctant to do so. The fact is that all trade agreements are a compromise. That is one reason why there is no veto in Parliament over a trade agreement—you would start to unpick the whole thing if Parliament objected to some aspect of a trade agreement —and there is no reason why we should want to change that now.

The other point is that the real prize for the CPTPP would be not the membership of China but the membership of the United States. It is clear that neither country wants to join at the moment, for particular reasons, but the agreement is going to last a very long time, and there may well come a moment when things change in China and the threat of China joining might well force the United States to join in order to keep China out. So we do not want to tie any Government’s hands on this in any way. We have to bear in mind that if the United States was to join the CPTPP, it really would become a massive trading bloc, and that prize would be well worth achieving.

My Lords, while I have enormous sympathy with the purpose of the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Alton, he has explained perfectly clearly that the CPTPP members would all have to agree not just that China would join the CPTPP but that a negotiation with China would be entered into. The benchmarks against which that would be measured are laid out in an annexe to the CPTPP, and there is a great distance between where China is today and the benchmarks that would have to be met, so I see no immediate process for that.

The terms of the amendment, in creating a different legal process for the accession of one potential applicant economy as compared with any other applicant economy, represent an unwelcome position for us to have taken. It might be construed as unwelcome in other countries as well; it seems to me that it would set a bad precedent. The question that would be put to the Government is what position we should take as to whether a commission should be established to look at an aspirant economy, and the United Kingdom Government could take a position on that. While I join my noble friend in resisting the amendment, it would be helpful if he could say that there was nothing to stop the Government from potentially laying a Statement under CRaG for that purpose and asking the relevant committees to comment on it.

That would not enable Parliament to veto it—indeed, a veto would be unwelcome at that stage because it would be a decision whether or not to enter into a negotiation—but, as in other cases, the Government would be well advised to take full account of what Parliament might say in relation to any such notification and any such report by the International Agreements Committee here and the Business and Trade Committee in the other place. I wonder whether my noble friend might suggest that, if there were such a potential decision to be made by the UK Government, they could go through that process and it would be perfectly reasonable for them to do so.

My Lords, I am sympathetic to the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Alton. I approach it from a somewhat different angle, on which he himself touched, which is the use of economic tools to gain hegemony geographically. We are talking about the wide area of influence that China already commands, not just in the Indo-Pacific. Already 20% of Chinese goods are destined for CPTPP countries; 50% of them are intermediate products. Of those countries, Malaysia, Vietnam and Mexico have the highest level of imports from China. When we join, that figure will go up because 13% of our imports come from China.

Whatever the outcome of the decision on this amendment, I urge the Government to consider very carefully some arrangement so that there can be collaboration between Parliament and government on the very important business aim of the UK, which is to prevent economic tools being used against UK interests, including those to which the noble Lord, Lord Alton, referred.

My Lords, I have added my name to the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and did so very happily. I will comment on a couple of points that have been raised in this short debate and then, without adding to what I said in Committee, highlight the reason why strategic debates about the UK’s trading relationship with China are important.

One of the reasons I was attracted to my party was that the Liberals were part of the founding movement for free trade. At that time, we traded with China and we will trade with China in the future, but this is a debate not about trading with China but about the UK’s resilience and our strategic trade interests. The noble Lord, Lord Hamilton, made the point that Parliament’s role is not to assess trade negotiations or assess whether China would meet the benchmarks for accession to the CPTPP. His argument was rejected by his noble friend Lord Lansley, who came to the conclusion that China is a long way from meeting the benchmarks. I cannot second-guess what the other members of the CPTPP will say, and nor can we hold them to account, but we can hold our Government to account for the assessments that they make. There will have to be a public process because the difference—I put it to the noble Lord, Lord Hamilton—is that China’s accession is less of a negotiation; it is an accession process, which is different from a bilateral FTA process. On that issue of substance, it is quite different.

The noble Lord, Lord Hamilton, also said that it would be wrong if we sought, by approving this amendment, somehow to provide a veto or to bind Ministers’ hands. It would not be a veto: there is nothing in the amendment that would allow it to be a veto. I refer also to the comments of his noble friend Lord Lansley, who said that there would be nothing to stop the Government bringing a report anyway. Opposing something that the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, suggested was in the Government’s interest to do is a bit of a stretch, but the Government have the ability to present a report, and this amendment says that they should. We have argued consistently for this in the Trade Act and on other trade negotiations.

The reason why China is particularly important, as was alluded to by the noble Baroness, Lady Lawlor, is not just the scale of the UK’s trade with China but how resilient we are in relation to it. It is absolutely right that the noble Lord, Lord Alton, raised the issue of Taiwan. I have just written to the President-elect, whose DPP is a sister party of ours on these Benches, to congratulate him on a remarkable victory. UK trade interests with Taiwan and shipping coming from that area are of critical importance. It is not just that British consumers enjoy the benefit of buying Chinese products, but we have the biggest trade deficit in goods with one country in our nation’s history. The trade deficit of £40 billion with China comes at a time when the whole narrative of UK government policy is that we would do trade with other countries in Asia, not China, that would offset any theoretical reduction with trade with Europe. We know that is not the case; it has proven harder to replicate the trading arrangements that we had with our European partners with those in Asia. We also know that the growth in trade in Asian economies, as the noble Baroness, Lady Lawlor, said, is because of their trading relationship with China. We cannot have it both ways.

If there is anything that suggests why we should have more of a strategic debate about how resilient the UK is when we have the biggest trade deficit of any nation on earth with China—I remind the House that Germany has a trade surplus in the export of goods to China—it is last Friday’s actions by the Royal Air Force. The shipping of goods from China, which we depend on for our consumers, comes through the very area where we have deployed military assets in the last few days, which we discussed last night in this House. It is in our geopolitical and strategic trading interests that Parliament debates our relationship with China. Given the potential for interventions in our trading and shipping through the Red Sea and through Suez, interruptions to our trading through the Taiwan Strait or other interruptions—because China can, without notice, change its national security profile and how it seeks to impact on a country such as the UK—we are uniquely vulnerable to another nation state’s decisions about its strategic position on exporting to the UK.

On the one hand, one might argue that the more that China being more of a part of the rules-based WTO mechanisms is in our interest—that is right, but it is a separate debate. Here, we are discussing how our Parliament will hold any Government to account for decisions that they may take on an assessment of whether it is in our strategic interests to support China acceding to the CPTPP. Asking for a report and for it to be debated in Parliament is the very least that could be asked for, and I hope that will not cause any big division across the House. We should all support this, and the Government should perhaps accept the need for a report and a debate in Parliament. That is what this amendment seeks to do.

The noble Lord, Lord Alton, is to be commended for this amendment. I will briefly develop one point made by my noble friend Lady Kennedy, who referred to the work of Sheffield Hallam University on trade, which I have read in considerable detail and previously raised in this House. That work clearly shows that, while China is one of the world’s biggest growers of cotton, it is also the world’s greatest cotton launderer, hiding where its cotton products are grown by laundering them around the world. The work at Sheffield Hallam has shown this, and, as a result, the Americans stopped importing the cotton.

As I have said previously, the Government have taken no action whatever to check the source of the cotton, but it is possible to do so. A lot of the cotton in China is grown in the Uighur area—this is a slave labour issue. I say to noble Lords, and to ladies and gentlemen, that any cotton in the clothes they are wearing at the moment can be analysed to show where it was grown and whether this was in Xinjiang or in another part of China or Egypt or somewhere else. Paper-based monitoring systems are worthless simply because China is hell-bent on laundering the cotton in its products and hiding where it comes from. Therefore, although we talk about free trade, it is not free trade if you are laundering your cotton to hide where it has come from. The Government have repeatedly been asked to do something about the products they buy on behalf of the British public. Have they used any of the element-analysis processes organised by Oritain to check the source of their cotton? The answer is no.

They have never taken any steps whatever to source the cotton and see whether it was grown in Xinjiang or not. Is that because we do not care about the use of slave labour or the source of materials? Well, I think we should and the noble Lord, Lord Alton, has given the House a further opportunity for this issue to be raised.

My Lords, on the whole I tend to support the idea of having one’s sparring partners join the club, because there is then a way to communicate. The noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy of The Shaws, made this point. Communication is incredibly important, such as through cultural and sporting exchange.

However, the points made by my noble friend Lord Alton seem to me to rather trump that consideration. The noble Lord, Lord Hamilton, said that we would be making an exception in the case of this country. But why would we make an exception? I suggest that the answer lies in my noble friend’s point that the country has behaved exceptionally and therefore that we have to take that into account.

Finally, I say that we must learn from the Post Office affair, for example, which we will come on to, that we can never probe enough—we need to look at things in depth, especially something such as this where there are clearly areas that we could consider more thoroughly. I repeat what the noble Lord said: this is a plea to look further. It is not doing anything else at this stage. It asks the Government to allow us to look further at something that has considerable consequences.

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords for their contributions and the noble Lord, Lord Alton of Liverpool, for presenting this amendment calling on the Secretary of State to publish a report assessing the potential impact of China’s accession to the CPTPP on the United Kingdom and saying that both Houses of Parliament must be presented with a Motion for resolution on the said report.

As the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, indicated earlier, we on this side of the House would have preferred this amendment to cover all new accession countries—but for the purposes of this amendment I will refer just to China. Several noble Lords spoke in Committee on the case for this amendment and I do not propose to repeat what was said. However, I will make noble Lords aware of China’s non-market trade practices and its history of using economic coercion against CPTPP members, which must be considered in any valuation of its prospective accession.

First, there are aggressive military exercises and drills in the Taiwan Strait that threaten peace and stability in the South China Sea. This could be destabilising to regional trade. In addition, China has ongoing territorial disputes with other CPTPP members, including Japan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam. Its willingness to use coercion against countries that disagree with it has often strained relationships with several CPTPP members. For example, it halted imports of Canadian canola and meat products in response to the arrest of a Huawei executive in Vancouver. Japan was denied access to rare earth materials in 2010 and Australian exports have suffered from Chinese import bans. Furthermore, several CPTPP member states have expressed concerns that China’s subsidies of state-owned firms and arbitrary application laws would be likely to make it hard for the country to join the trade pact.

I wanted to quote two examples, but the noble Lord, Lord Alton, mentioned the Japanese State Minister, so I will leave it at that and bring in another example of our very own British CPTPP trade negotiator, Graham Zebedee. Without commenting specifically on China’s application, if a country’s economic rules are really quite far apart from what CPTPP says, inevitably there is quite a big question about whether they could undertake really massive reforms. These concerns alone seem to provide sound justification for the commissioning of a report and Motion for resolution, as required by this amendment, so that both Houses of Parliament have the opportunity to fully consider the case for and against China’s accession to the trading bloc.

Recent newspaper reports have shown the lengths to which President Xi will go to crack down on companies when strengthening his control of the economy. Business leaders in China are under immense pressure. Last year, more than a dozen top executives from sectors including technology, finance and real estate went missing, faced detention or were accused of corruption practices. China’s national security law, as mentioned by my noble friend Lady Kennedy, is dangerously vague and broad. Virtually anything could be deemed a threat to national security under its provision and it can be applied to anyone on this planet. This law has provided little or no protection to people targeted. Lawyers, scholars, journalists, pastors and NGO workers have all been convicted of national security offences, simply for exercising their freedom of expression and defending human rights. Business leaders may face the same treatment.

China’s current policies and practices are at odds with many of the provisions and requirements of the CPTPP, and it is unlikely to be able to conform to them unless current members agree to significant concessions in the negotiations. This is why concerns about coercion are particularly relevant. Without considerable concessions, it is hard to see how China would qualify for accession. Equally, China is highly unlikely to make the changes to its laws and regulatory systems that would be required to gain the acceptance of CPTPP.

We are obviously sympathetic to the arguments made by the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and others in support of this amendment. However, there is not yet any agreement for any other country to join the partnership. It would be improper to single out any one of the possible new members at this stage, including China. At Second Reading and in Committee, we put on record our strong concern about China’s human rights record, but we believe that our human rights concerns should be universal and that one country should not be singled out. Should the noble Lord, Lord Alton, decide to divide the House on this amendment, we will abstain.

My Lords, I am grateful for this debate and I have the greatest respect for my noble friend Lord Alton, who, over the years, has demonstrated his significant level of passion on this very important matter, as have many other noble Lords today. I do not want to deviate from the important points I wish to make relating to this CPTPP Bill, so forgive me if I do not necessarily answer all the questions that have been presented in relation to some of the topics raised. However, I would like to say, very importantly, that I clearly personally strongly reject the sanctioning of our parliamentarians. We have made it very clear before that China’s attempts to silence those highlighting human rights violations at home and abroad, including, and specifically, their targeting of MPs and Peers here in the UK, are unwarranted and unacceptable. I begin discussion on this amendment with that very important statement.

I turn to the debate around the CPTPP. As I have made clear throughout the last few stages of this Bill, in joining CPTPP, we are securing our place in a network of countries that are committed to free and rules-based trade, which has the potential to be a global standard setter. CPTPP acts as a gateway to the dynamic and fast-growing Indo-Pacific region and delivers on last year’s integrated review refresh to continue to enhance our relationships in that region. I stress this point, which was raised, I believe, by the noble Lord, Lord Purvis. Expansion of this agreement’s membership will only bring further opportunities for British businesses and consumers.

On potential new accessions, there are currently six economies with applications to join the group: China, Taiwan, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Uruguay and Ukraine. China’s application, alongside the applications of the other five economies, is at the outset of the application process and has certainly not been determined. As noble Lords are already aware, the CPTPP is a group of 11 parties and will become 12 when the UK accedes, and decisions must be taken by consensus of the CPTPP parties. However, it has been agreed within the group that applicant economies must also meet three important criteria: they must meet the high standards of the agreement; they have to have demonstrated a pattern of complying with their trade commitments; and they must command consensus of the CPTPP parties. These are very strong criteria, and I hope that all Peers on all sides of the House hear this very clearly.

As a new member of the CPTPP group, it is right that we work within the principles of the group to achieve a consensus decision, rather than give our own individual narrative on each applicant, such as through the report proposed in this amendment. My kinsman and noble friend Lord Hamilton made a very strong point in support of that. As I indicated previously, the UK is already closely involved in discussions on this topic but will have a formal power to oppose an application only post-ratification. It is therefore crucial that we ratify the agreement and become a party, so that we can work with CPTPP members decisively on each current and future application. I stress that to be drawn in on individual applicants now, ahead of the UK becoming a party to the agreement, could risk significant repercussions to our own ratification, which is why this is such a sensitive and important issue.

The UK becoming a party of the CPTPP is dependent on CPTPP parties individually choosing to ratify the UK’s accession, so it is not in our interests to step outside the group on such a sensitive issue. As I have been clear throughout our debates, we must join first so that we are on the inside judging other applications, not vice versa. It is therefore crucial that the UK ratifies the agreement, which will in turn trigger other ratifications that will allow us to become a party.

I want to be clear that our own accession working group was successful because we are demonstrably a high-standards economy with a strong track record, we made a market access offer of the highest standard, and we garnered the support of every party for our accession. Our accession process has set a strong precedent: the robust experience the UK has been through has reinforced the high standards and proved the bar is not easy to meet.

Comments were raised about state-owned enterprises. I will give noble Lords an anecdote from the negotiating team, as I understand it. We received a great degree of scrutiny over the relationship between Channel 4 and the Government, which few people, I think, would necessarily equate with the concept of a state-owned enterprise. I hope that that demonstrates the sort of inquiry that was behind our own accession.

I also reassure the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and everyone else who participated in this debate, that the accession of new parties after the UK has joined will entail a change in the rights and obligations of existing parties. Any new agreement requiring ratification by the UK would therefore be subject to the terms of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. So, if he will allow me, I push back against the noble Lord and his suggestion—I think the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, also suggested it—that there is no track for the CRaG process to be triggered should a new party be able or about to accede to the CPTPP.

The Minister made an important point, so I will press him on it, as I did during the meeting we had with officials. Can he confirm that the CRaG process does not provide for a vote in either House of Parliament?

I am grateful to the noble Lord, but, if he will allow me, I will continue with my comments on what this process will involve. As noble Lords are aware, the CRaG process requires that the treaty text and an Explanatory Memorandum be laid before Parliament for 21 sitting days before ratification can take place. Under CRaG, either House can resolve against ratification of a relevant treaty within the 21 sitting days of the treaty being laid before Parliament. The House of Commons can continue, indefinitely, to resolve against ratification, in effect giving the Commons the power to block ratification. I hope that that answers the noble Lord’s question.

These are clearly quite dramatic actions to take on behalf of both Houses in relation to the CRaG process, but the point is that the levers are available. While there is no explicit up/down vote built into the CRaG process, there are multiple ways in which a debate can be brought to the Floor of the House. Should it be the will of the House to have a substantive debate, I am sure that Parliament would ensure that it would occur. I believe that that is referred to as the Grimstone principle.

My Lords, on a point of clarification, the Minister told us that it would be wrong for a country to comment on another country’s application and gave reasons for that to be the case, but the Government sought in our application support from other countries, and indeed welcomed Japan’s public comments that it would welcome UK accession. Why did we previously seek and welcome support from other countries for our application if the Government are now saying it would be dangerous if we made any comment about China’s potential application?

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, but it may surprise him to know that we are not yet fully acceded or party to CPTPP. As soon as we are, it is absolutely right that we make comment on other countries, but only after the process and we have joined. To include an amendment in the Bill now would be completely inappropriate, as I hope I have made clear. I think it would cause significant issues in this overall process.

I return to the point on which it is important to reassure the House. The House is looking for reassurance about whether any country can be sneaked under the wire to join CPTPP, and the clear answer is that it cannot. We have made clear commitments to clarify the process from the Dispatch Box to ensure that we know, as Members of this House and of the other place, that there will be a robust process around any new party joining CPTPP.

I am very grateful to the Minister, but I am trying to get clarity to see whether we need to divide the House. He has not answered the question I asked. He has said that there could be a process by which there could be a debate on the Floor of the House if the Government permitted it. All that would be welcome, if it was permitted. My question was whether such a Motion would be divisible. Would there be a chance for Members of both Houses to vote? When I asked that question during the course of our meeting, the answer I was given was no.

I thank the noble Lord for his comment but I feel he is being slightly unfair to me. I am describing the CRaG process, and the Grimstone principle makes clear what will happen if there is a desire for a debate and parliamentary time allows—I am obliged to use those caveats, as your Lordships can imagine, but frankly it would be astonishing if there was not a significant and strong debate over any country joining CPTPP. As I said, and as the noble Lord will know from his experience, the House of Commons can continue indefinitely to resolve against ratification, in effect giving the Commons the power to block ratification. I think that is a very significant and probably quite considerable device that would enable the noble Lord to feel reassured on that point.

The question is whether a new party joining CPTPP would trigger the CRaG process. In our view, it absolutely would, which gives enormous power and scrutiny to both Houses in ensuring that there is a proper debate on that. It is important to note, as I think was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, that, in the event of the CRaG process being triggered, I would expect the Business and Trade Committee or the International Agreements Committee to request a debate, and that the Government would seek to facilitate this, subject to parliamentary time, as under the Grimstone principle, which we have covered.

I would like to come to a conclusion here. I note the important contribution made by the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, in Committee. He commented that he did not believe that this amendment was “necessary or desirable”, and recognised the importance of unanimity among members. I want to bring us back to that point. We are now part of a group that has attracted interest across the world.

My Lords, I apologise for intervening, particularly when I have not taken part in these debates before, but I want to ask a question before the Minister leaves the issue of the CRaG provisions, which are very important for some of us who have listened to the debate and have an issue. He said clearly just now that the House of Commons could resolve against ratification, but the noble Lord, Lord Alton, was asking if it could have a vote. How would the House of Commons resolve against ratification without voting on the issue? That is what I struggle to understand.

I am grateful to the noble Baroness for her point. There is no explicit up/down vote built into the CRaG process; we are aware of that. I am talking to a House that has far more experience of the CRaG process than I do, so we know how the process works. There are multiple ways in which a debate can be brought to the Floor of the House. For reassurance, I will go through this point again. The CRaG process requires that a treaty text and an Explanatory Memorandum be laid before Parliament for 21 sitting days before ratification can take place. Under CRaG, either House can resolve against ratification of a relevant treaty within the 21 sitting days of it being laid before Parliament. The House of Commons can continue indefinitely to resolve against ratification, in effect giving the Commons the power to block ratification.

To some extent, this is important, but it may be academic. As I said, the question is whether a new party to CPTPP can be snuck under the wire. We are very clear that this is not possible. The process is automatically triggered. Aside from that, there are also the reports written by the Trade and Agriculture Commission, and there has to be an impact assessment, and there has to be a significant amount of scrutiny and debate, as there is about the CPTPP Bill today. I am very reassured on the principles and mechanics around whether we have in this House the right level of control and security to ensure that we have control over our own destiny in relation to new parties joining a plurilateral treaty, which is of course completely different from the country-to-country FTAs.

I am grateful to my noble friend. As a former Leader of the House in the other place and as a member of the International Agreements Committee, I am pretty clear that, under CRaG, the International Agreements Committee here, and potentially the Business and Trade Committee in another place, might make a report to Parliament that could lead to a debate. That debate could be subject to a take-note Motion, but that would be amendable. If it were sought to be amended in the other place to say that a treaty should not be ratified, the Government could not continue to ratify the treaty if such a vote had taken place in the other House to say that it should not. I think that gives the comfort that the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, is looking for.

I am very grateful to my noble friend for that comment. He is absolutely right that the Business and Trade Committee and the IAC are able to request a debate, which, as I said, according to the Grimstone principle, we would always seek to facilitate, given parliamentary time.

I should like to come to a conclusion. I ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment. I have made extremely clear, I hope, the rigorous standards that CPTPP applies. This is a plurilateral trading group that wants to have the highest standards of trade among them. That is my first key point. The second is that we have a number of safeguards built into our own processes to ensure that, were another country to join CPTPP—it could be any of the countries applying or future countries over the coming years—there will be a proper process, as has been defined in the CRaG process. I would ask the noble Lord, given the complexities and sensitivities that I believe this amendment would present to our ratification process, to withdraw his amendment.

My Lords, I am very grateful to the Minister and all noble Lords who have taken part in today’s debate. I felt we were quite close to agreement, as I felt we were during the course of the meeting that I had with the Minister. It comes down to the issue of whether or not such a report and Motion, were it to be laid in the House of Commons, as the noble Lord, Lord Lansley, just said in response to my noble friend Lady Hayman, would be divisible or not. It has been made clear that under the CRaG process that is not possible. That is why it was necessary to table this amendment.

As for some of the other arguments put before your Lordships, I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Hamilton of Epsom, who raised the issue of the United States of America. If the USA were to seek to join—it is not even in the queue or the list of countries to which the Minister referred earlier—all of us would be very pleased about that. However, China is in the list referred to, so this is not hypothetical—China is in the list. We are not seeking to have the debate here and now as to whether or not China should accede. That is not what this amendment would do. Chronologically, we are getting ahead of ourselves. The amendment would simply empower this House, should we then be members of the CPTPP, to have the right in both Houses to query such an application on the grounds that I laid out at length, as did the noble Baroness, Lady Kennedy of The Shaws, and the noble Lords, Lord Rooker, Lord Purvis and Lord Leong, in their remarks about the nature of the country that we are dealing with. Is China different from the others? Yes, of course it is manifestly different, not least, as the noble Lord, Lord Rooker, mentioned, because of the products that we buy from Xinjiang. The House of Commons has declared not that there are human rights violations but that there is a genocide—under the 1948 convention on the crime of genocide—taking place in Xinjiang against Uighur Muslims, who are used as slave labour.

The noble Lord, Lord Rooker, is right about that, and we have this trade deficit that the noble Lord, Lord Purvis, regularly refers to, of £40 billion, which makes us very dependent on that country and does not contribute to our resilience. Will the CPTPP help us? Yes, it will, and I am glad that we are joining it. That is why I support the Minister in that objective and support this Bill but, as others have said in the debate, we need to be in a position not only to be able to voice our opinions in both Houses but to vote on those things as well. Otherwise, how will we express our view? Will it be done through telepathy? Will it be done as a result of people getting up and saying, “We don’t agree with this”? If there cannot be a vote, it is impossible. All of us in this House or who have been in the other place know that to be the case.

As for the views that have been expressed about the desirability of China’s membership, my noble friend Lord Berkeley of Knighton said that this is exceptional because it is appalling behaviour that we have never probed enough. We must probe. That is what this amendment seeks to do, to give us rights. Look at the amendment. There are two parts to it. The first simply says:

“Before any decision is made by the Government … on the accession … to the CPTPP under Chapter 30 of the CPTPP, the Secretary of State must publish a report”.

That is all well and good. The Minister has accepted that principle, so why not accept the first part of the amendment? What does the second part say? It says:

“Both Houses of Parliament must be presented with a motion for resolution on the report under subsection (1)”.

This is hardly revolutionary. It seems to me perfectly reasonable. We are being invited to tilt at imaginary windmills. I know that some will be under pressure from their Whips but, as I did during the debate, I commend the remarks of the former Leader of the Conservative Party, who has written to members of his party today to say that the amendment remedies the problem in a proportionate way that goes with the grain of government policy.

I would like to seek the opinion of the House, and I hope that those on the Government Benches in particular will vote for this amendment.

Amendment 6

Moved by

6: After Clause 5, insert the following new Clause—

“Human rights impact assessment: indigenous and forest peoplesThe Secretary of State must lay before Parliament, within 24 months of the passing of this Act, a human rights impact assessment on the impact of UK CPTPP accession on indigenous and forest peoples in the respective CPTPP parties.”Member's explanatory statement

This amendment would require the Secretary of State to perform a human rights impact assessment on the effect of UK CPTPP accession on indigenous and forest peoples.

My Lords, in moving Amendment 6, I wish also to speak to Amendment 12 in this group. Amendment 6 raises the issue of the displacement of indigenous people severely affected by deforestation resulting from the rush to clear forests for palm oil agriculture. The rainforests of the world are an essential source of carbon storage and provide homes to some of our most iconic species, which everyone is aware of. What is not so widely acknowledged is the effect that forest clearance has on the indigenous people who make their home in the forest. The CPTPP will remove tariffs on palm oil, making deforestation easier. The human cost will be devastating: nearly 1 billion people depend on the forests for their livelihood and 300 million people live in them. This displacement is enormous. An assessment of the impact on these people within 24 months of the passing of this legislation is essential. I look forward to the Minister’s comments.

The World Wide Fund for Nature has identified that two of the 11 deforestation fronts are covered by the CPTPP. These 11 fronts will account for 80% of deforestation by 2030. The Government’s proposed deforestation due diligence only covers illegal deforestation in four linked commodities. The US FOREST Act covers six, and the EU deforestation regulations cover seven, with other countries going further. The UK is lagging behind in this vital area and needs to do much more to protect this dwindling resource. There has to be a more stringent process to ensure that deforestation does not totally destroy the homes of those who are less able to speak up for themselves. A review of the effect on these people is essential.

Amendment 12 is in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Willis of Summertown. She is unable to be present this afternoon and sends her apologies. I have added my name to this amendment, as has the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott. The noble Baroness, Lady Willis, spoke knowledgeably and passionately to this amendment in Committee. The countries which the Government are planning to begin trading with do not have the same stringent rules on the use of pesticides and chemicals as we have. This will undermine and undercut our farmers. It will also put the population at risk.

There are 119 hazardous pesticides banned in the UK which are used in the countries covered by the CPTPP. The border checks which the Government are proposing are not sufficient to be able to prevent goods containing these toxic chemicals from entering the country and the food chain. Some of these pesticides are known to kill bee populations and destroy aquatic ecosystems. The paper border checks which the Government are proposing rely just on documentation. There will be no physical check of goods which may contain pesticides. The Pesticide Action Network found that grapes from CPTPP member countries New Zealand, Chile and Peru may contain 1,000 times the amount of iprodione than their UK equivalent. This is a fungicide linked to cancer. Are the Government really going to expose the population to these toxic chemicals without proper physical checks? A review of the impact within 12 months is again essential.

I shall also speak briefly in support of Amendment 11 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park. This again deals with adequate checks on goods containing sustainable palm oil. This is a vital amendment and I congratulate the noble Lord on bringing it forward. Had I realised early enough that he was putting down this amendment, I would have signed it. Its ethos is Liberal Democrat party policy and something we would definitely have wanted to support.

As has often been the case in the past, a new product is found to be useful worldwide and relatively cheap to produce. There is a rush to produce this product, with little thought given to the long-term consequences of its use. Such is the case with palm oil. It is a new wonder product that everyone wants; it is relatively cheap to produce and grows easily. However useful palm oil is, and however cheap its production, it must be sustainable. Wholesale deforestation in order to grow palm oil is extremely short-sighted, especially as we all recognise the value of the carbon storage capacity of trees. It is ironic that, at a time in the UK when the Government are setting ambitious targets for tree planting, they are also rushing to sign up to trade deals with countries which are destroying their forests to grow palm oil. I fully support this amendment and hope that the Minister will listen to the noble Lord, Lord Goldsmith, and agree to his amendment.

My Lords, I support all the amendments in this group. I happily added my name to Amendment 11, but I will focus on my Amendment 9. The common theme through these amendments is of raising concerns about possible issues arising from a trade agreement. We are all free- traders now, but there is a recognition that free trade should be respectful of the limits that we and other countries set to protect labour standards, the environment, food quality and so on. There is a balance to be achieved and this series of amendments raises issues of concern.

These amendments are all limited, because the Bill is limited. It is not the treaty, but just the administrative arrangements required to implement it, so it could not achieve a lot anyway. We are asking the Government to review these issues. I hope that they are of sufficient importance that they would be studied, in any event. It is possible that we do not need these amendments, as a good Government would review these issues, but they provide us with the opportunity to point out areas of concern.

My Amendment 9 concerns investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms. The investment chapter of the CPTPP contains these arrangements and allows companies to sue Governments over decisions to implement policies that impact their corporate profits, even when these decisions were made in the public interest. We debated this in Committee, and I am sorry to say that I found the Minister’s reply to our concerns less than reassuring. Referring to these arrangements, he said that that they do not

“derogate or hinder our right to regulate in the public interest, including in areas such as the environment and labour standards”.

Referring explicitly to the CPTPP, he also said that it

“preserves states’ rights to regulate proportionately, fairly and in the public interest”.—[Official Report, 14/12/23; col. GC 375.]

That sounds fine.

The International Bar Association has a similar view, stating that,

“while investment treaties limit states’ ability to inflict arbitrary or discriminatory treatment, they do not limit (and, in fact, expressly safeguard) a state’s sovereign right to regulate in the public interest in a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory manner”.

The problem is that these phrases, “arbitrary or discriminatory treatment” and a

“fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory manner”,

are doing a lot of heavy lifting. They are all subject to interpretation. There have been real concerns that, in practice, commercial interests will be elevated above those of the public. There is so much there that needs to be taken on trust. The key point is that this clearly—and, I suggest, inarguably—is an issue that needs to be kept under close review, which my amendment does.

The problem we face is that ISDS arrangements have been used to challenge health provision, labour rights and other important regulations. This is not a theoretical possibility; there have been enough examples in practice to give rise to this concern. I quoted the CBI in Committee and it is worth expressing its views again—that there is

“a risk of the UK becoming disproportionately targeted through ISDS”,

and that

“there could also be environmental implications of the UK being exposed to the ISDS mechanism”.

These are not fringe concerns but concerns of different interest groups.

In simple terms, the ISDS arrangements make it possible for firms to sue Governments for measures that harm their profits. The existence of this power has a chilling effect on regulations, particularly those designed to combat climate change.

A specific example, of which we need some account, is the attitude to the energy charter treaty, under which many cases have been brought by western companies taking action against Governments to limit their use and expansion of fossil fuels. So problematic has this become that large European countries have signalled their intention to exit from this treaty. The Government themselves have said that they are reviewing their energy charter treaty membership and

“will carefully consider the views of stakeholders”.—[Official Report, Commons, 4/9/23; col. 4WS.]

Given the dawning realisation that these sorts of clauses are an impediment to climate action and to sovereign policy-making in general, it seems wrong for us to sign up to further restrictions through this treaty. I am amazed by the modesty of the demand that this aspect of the CPTPP should be subject to a formal review so that we can see what impact it is having on government corporate relations.

My Lords, I am delighted to speak to Amendment 10 in my name, which is in similar terms to the amendment I tabled in Committee and requests

“an assessment of the impact of the implementation of the CPTPP Chapter on government procurement on environmental protection and animal welfare, health and hygiene”.

I am grateful to my noble friend for trying to seek me out. I missed him yesterday and he missed me today. Along with the noble Lord, Lord Alton, and a number of others, we were paying tribute at the memorial to an outstanding parliamentarian, Baroness Boothroyd. I am sorry that I missed my noble friend’s attempt to speak to me, but I am grateful for the opportunity to speak to him in the confines of these deliberations.

What has changed very clearly since Committee stage is that an announcement was made by the Environment Secretary at the Oxford Farming Conference that the Government are committing to consult on new food labelling—plans that will ensure that British produce will, as he put it,

“stand out from the crowd”.

The idea is to allow changes to food labelling entitling consumers to make better decisions at the supermarket in particular, while also highlighting high-quality British produce to the public. I quote from the press release issued by the NFU, which quotes what my right honourable friend Steve Barclay said:

“New food labelling would also make it clearer when imported products do not meet the same UK welfare standards”.

I put it to my noble friend: would it not be better if we did not import food that does not meet the high UK animal welfare and environmental standards that consumers demand and our domestic producers are honoured and delighted to meet? What is the relationship between this new labelling scheme and the Red Tractor scheme, which already demonstrates compliance with all the food requirements by domestic producers?

Is it not a fact, and does my noble friend not agree, that domestic producers meet the highest standards of animal welfare and environmental protection in their production? This means they are meeting a higher standard and it is therefore more expensive to produce. This is exactly what happened in the 1990s with the decision to unilaterally ban sow stalls and tethers in the production of pigmeat while we continued to import pork produced by sow stalls and tethers for an interim period of seven years. This meant the consumer swapped high-end, high-quality, high-animal-welfare-standard UK pig production with lower, cheaper, substandard imports. After seven years, this put our pig producers out of business.

I hope my noble friend will give me his assurance today that after six months—or 12 months in the terms of my Amendment 10—an assessment will be undertaken by his department, jointly with Defra, to ensure that the trade Bill before us this evening does not discriminate against UK domestic production, particularly of meat and dairy. In addition, can he give an assurance that the food labelling provisions that Defra is proposing to consult on, and which I support, will apply not just to supermarket labelling but will somehow translate on to the food menus for food sourced from third countries in our restaurants, bars and cafés in this country? That is the main purport lying behind Amendment 10.

I remind my noble friend that the 2022 joint annual report of the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland states:

“the EU still accounts for two-thirds of all food and feed imports, and 80% of all meat and other products of animal origin”.

The Government were committed to introducing the checks and examinations at UK ports on 31 December 2023 to ensure that imports, whether from third countries through the EU or from EU countries, meet the same standards as required here. Will my noble friend confirm that those checks are now in place, as of the end of last year and the beginning of this year?

Further, will my noble friend confirm that the food and feed imported from outside the EU will have more frequent additional physical checks, rather than those currently carried out only randomly on a predefined percentage? It is, again, important to our own home producers to ensure that, while they are subject to the absolute force of law from the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland, those imports from third countries will meet the same high standards at the point of import. It is not right that we should leave it to local authorities, whose resources are extremely stretched at the moment, to do all the checks required, when these checks would be better taking place at the point of entry. At the moment, all food and feed of animal origin coming from outside the EU is subjected to only documentary checks confirming that appropriate documentation is supplied and identity checks confirming that product matches the documentation. Will my noble friend undertake an assessment after six or 12 months of this trade Bill coming into force to ensure that a higher proportion of additional physical checks than just a predefined percentage are taking place at the point of entry?

It is in the context of those questions that I urge my noble friend to look very favourably on the purport and content of Amendment 10.

I rise to speak to the proposed new clause “Review: forest risk commodities”, which is in my name and the names of the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott, and the noble Lords, Lord Davies and Lord McNicol. The noble Lord, Lord Davies, has spoken and I thank him for his support. I also appreciated the words of the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell, when she spoke earlier, and I strongly agree with the case she made for prioritising indigenous people. There is no cheaper or more effective solution, if we are interested in protecting nature, than backing those who have been doing that for generations. The maths and facts speak for themselves—80% of terrestrial biodiversity is in land looked after, and in some cases owned by, indigenous people, so the noble Baroness makes the point very well.

Deforestation is a major environmental crisis for so many reasons. We heard earlier from the noble Baroness that the displacement of people all over the world is causing runaway biodiversity collapse and the loss of a terrifying variety of lifeforms. Once gone, they are never going to come back. Nearly 90% of deforestation is caused by agricultural expansion. The resulting loss of habitat has caused a horrifying decline in everything from tigers and elephants to rhinos, hornbills and orangutans. Orangutans, incidentally, are relevant to this amendment because they tend to live in areas where palm oil is so prevalent; they have lost 80% of their habitat in the last 20 years.

Forest loss goes far beyond even that. The Congo basin, whose forest is disappearing at a rate of around 1 million hectares every single year, produces most of the rainfall for the entire continent of Africa. If those trends are allowed to continue, we are going to see humanitarian crisis on biblical scales. In the Amazon too—we do not fully understand the role of the Amazon in generating rainfall, but we know it generates rainfall and that that rainfall falls in the southern states of the United States, and that without the Amazon there would be huge repercussions across that entire region—it is in everyone’s interest that stopping deforestation remains a top priority.

I have not even mentioned climate change at this point. Deforestation is now the second leading cause of climate change after burning fossil fuels. There is no credible solution to climate change and no credible net-zero plan that does not include nature at its very heart. A plan that does not include nature is not, in real terms, a plan at all.

It is for these reasons I am bringing this amendment to the House today. Noble Lords have previously expressed concern that, once ratified, the CPTPP agreement will remove all tariffs on palm oil irrespective of its environmental credentials. They are right to flag this issue, which has been flagged a number of times, because in pursuing that policy we risk, at the very least, undermining the core of our COP 26 messaging on the importance of forest.

It also contradicts commitments made by the Government under Schedule 17 to the Environment Act to tackle illegal deforestation in our supply chains. Indeed, without the safeguards of the due diligence secondary legislation in place—that safeguard is not there yet and I hope the Minister will be able to provide some reassurance about when that is going to happen—it is simply irresponsible to pursue a policy of this sort.

Around 90% of the world’s palm oil is grown in Malaysia and Indonesia. It is estimated that around 1% of Malaysian palm oil smallholdings are certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. That 1% makes up around 40% of all the palm oil plantations in Malaysia. The RSPO is probably the most widely recognised certification scheme. It is voluntary, and among other things it requires that palm oil is deforestation- free.

We know what is possible when a Government are serious about this issue. We have actually seen amazing efforts and results in Indonesia. It gets very little credit for the work we have seen over the last few years, but under the leadership of a number of very impressive people, not least Minister Siti Nurbaya, that country has come pretty close—it has not done it yet, but has come pretty close—to breaking the link between palm oil production and environmental destruction. I think it should get more credit for the work it is doing, because it is a model that other commodity-producing countries could learn from.

I acknowledge and welcome, very briefly, the side agreement that the UK and Malaysian Governments have signed. It commits to strengthening efforts to conserve forests and promote sustainable supply chains, in particular around palm oils. In many respects, the statement goes further than the due diligence secondary legislation that I mentioned earlier. But the agreement still relies on the Malaysian sustainable palm oil certification scheme, as opposed to the RSPO, which I mentioned earlier. The details around the Malaysian scheme are unclear and in truth it is significantly less robust than the RSPO—I do not think anyone would argue against that.

That is why it is so vital that work is done to review the impact of that agreement once it is in place. This proposed new clause is very simple, and that is what it seeks to do. It would require a review every two years that would assess the effectiveness of that agreement, alongside the impact of the CPTPP trade deal, on the sustainable production of forest risk commodities more broadly, including palm oil of course, right the way through our supply chains. The review would also look at the impact of the deal on deforestation within CPTPP nations, and the compatibility of the deal with our own due diligence regulations.

I hope that noble Lords agree that it is a reasonable amendment. It offers a practical way of reaffirming the Government’s commitment to making sure that our own supply chains are part of the solution and not the problem, as well as empowering Parliament to hold the Government to account on this issue. The new clause is supported by a number of significant environmental organisations—WWF, Chester Zoo and others—and has support from Peers for the Planet, for which I am very grateful.

Very briefly, as I finish, I will say that in my previous capacity as Minister of State, I went to Chester Zoo and saw its pioneering work on sustainable palm oil—clearing up its own supply chains but then helping businesses in the area do exactly the same. I thank it on the record for its leadership on this issue and for its work more broadly. Its Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project, which has been running for a quarter of a century, involves creating magnificent nature corridors linking up those little habitats, and making it possible for distinct and previously quite cut- off orangutan populations to meet, breed and strengthen their population.

We need to ensure that the environmental safeguards we put in place, such as this UK/Malaysia agreement, are effective. That is the purpose behind this amendment. Of course, a stronger, better and easier policy would be to remove tariffs entirely on commodities from countries that have broken the link between agricultural commodities and deforestation, or conversion of important ecosystems. We know that is possible: Gabon has broken the link between logging and deforestation; Costa Rica has broken the link between agricultural commodities and deforestation, and I mentioned Indonesia earlier.

I was thrilled to see that, in the free trade agreement between the EFTA and Indonesia, there is a commitment that palm and other vegetable oils that have been produced protecting primary forests, peatlands, and related ecosystems will get preferential market access. So it is possible to build these safeguards into the primary agreement but, in their absence, we have to act now by passing something similar, at least, to this amendment. I hope that, when he responds, the Minister will be able to provide some real, meaningful reassurances that the impact of these agreements on deforestation, on our supply chain and on our role as consumers in deforestation, is properly understood and monitored, and that we are indeed part of the solution and not the problem.

My Lords, I first declare my interests. I will come to some notes about Amendment 11, so ably spoken to just now by the noble Lord, Lord Goldsmith. Right now, I rise to speak to Amendment 12 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Willis of Summertown. As the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell, just said, she is unable to be here. I would also like to say that I support Amendment 6 from the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell.

Amendment 12 is really very straightforward, and I cannot see any reason why the Government should not let this through. It just says that our border testing regimes must be robust enough so that we are aware of the new types of products that are going to enter the UK as a result of this trade agreement. We know that many countries in the CPTPP have products that contain levels of pesticides that exceed our safety limits, or indeed are actually banned because of their risks to human health, food safety and consumer protection, and are not covered at all by any import tolerances.

As the noble Baroness, Lady Willis, described in Committee, and as the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell, has just reaffirmed, there are 119 pesticides that we ban that are permitted for agricultural use in one or more of the countries we are aiming to enter into a trade negotiation with. UK pesticide standards are stronger than those of the other countries and there is no expectation, I hope, that we are going to change our high standards. So, a successful trade agreement—which is presumably what the Government are after—will inevitably lead to some increase in agricultural imports to the UK. Indeed, the strength and effectiveness of our border control systems is an issue of relevance to all existing FTAs, not only to new ones.

The Trade and Agriculture Commission flags the

“likely pressure that will be placed on the UK’s border control regime”

as a result of the increase in trade, in combination with the new EU border control model. Reports on the ground, including from the NFU, flag the lack of inspection of products coming into the UK, and the risk of this to our biosecurity. This amendment is simple and pragmatic. It provides an opportunity for the Government to scrutinise the existing system to ensure that it operates with maximum effectiveness.

I turn now to Amendment 11, in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Goldsmith, which is a further iteration of the one we tabled in Committee. Following on from his remarks, the purpose of the amendment is to both highlight our susceptibility to commodities linked to deforestation and to get assurances that the Government’s statutory review will consider this issue.

Since we last discussed it, the arguments have only been strengthened by the Environmental Audit Committee’s report on deforestation. It flagged that, in their first revision to the Environmental Improvement Plan, the Government committed to use their trade agreements and trading relationships

“to support the United Kingdom’s strong environmental and climate commitments”.

Despite this, in the course of the negotiations, we eliminated import tariffs on palm oil, which had been set at rates of up to 12%, from all CPTPP members, including Malaysia. So what is that going to do in terms of keeping sustainable palm oil production alive?

While it is true that we have existing agreements with many of the countries already, we do not with Malaysia and so it is of significance that this agreement will allow Malaysian palm oil—not necessarily sustainable —to enter the market with no tariff. As raised by Chester Zoo in its letter to Peers, around 90% of the world’s oil palm trees are grown on a few islands in Malaysia and Indonesia. Estimates suggest that as little as 1% of Malaysian palm oil is actually certified.

The EAC also noted that:

“While the UK is only the 15th largest contributor”

to tropical deforestation, we actually have a very intensive use. This is to do with our diet, which is so largely made up of ultra-processed food—66%, in fact—that depends on palm oil, when food products are smashed back into their original chemical state and then reconstituted to make the kinds of products that so carelessly litter our shelves. It seems to me that we therefore have a responsibility in this area.

I also want to challenge the idea that we are starting from a high point. We are not. Even if the Schedule 17 regulations were in place, they would apply only to illegal deforestation. That means that if a country decides to legalise deforestation, we have absolutely no recourse to stop those products entering our market. Legal or illegal, the damage is the same, and it should be treated as such. The EU regulations that are coming into force cover both, and I note that the EAC has recommended that legal deforestation be included within ours.

I would appreciate it if, in his winding-up speech, the Minister were able to confirm that the review that the Government will carry out in two years’ time, which he referred to in Committee, will take into account these concerns; and specifically if he can confirm that the joint statement with Malaysia to tackle deforestation and the MSPO—the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil Certification Scheme—have been effective. I also want to note my support for other amendments in this group.

My Lords, I declare my interest as chair of Peers for the Planet and wish to simply record my support for the speeches that have already been made. I think all the amendments have been well argued, and I will not repeat what has already been said. The only exception to that is that I would like to say a few words on Amendment 9 from the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Brixton, on ISDS. I referred to this briefly in Committee.

The investor-state dispute settlement mechanism was brought in with those specific purposes to allow firms to bring arbitral proceedings against Governments of member states in which they had invested for actions which violate their economic rights. It did a good job at that, but I was very struck when the Minister said earlier in today’s debate that we have to look to the future, not the past. What is happening at present under ISDS provisions makes us think that perhaps the need for review is in fact urgent, and that, for the future, we need something better. My concerns are particularly around the effect that the provisions can actually have on the Government’s ability to govern, regulate and take measures of environmental protection. This is a widely held view.

Indeed. In July 2023, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, David Boyd, talked of the “catastrophic consequences” of ISDS for climate and environment action and human rights. We should take that seriously. As a country, we do not always have a coherent approach to ISDS provisions. On this treaty, we have agreed to side letters excluding ISDS with Australia and New Zealand, but we have not asked for a similar side letter for other countries and for other exclusions. It is piecemeal, and it is a system that has been useful but now needs to be reviewed, and is not fit for purpose in 2024. In that respect, as the noble Lord, Lord Davies, mentioned, we also have to look urgently at the energy charter treaty. I was slightly encouraged by the Minister’s colleague the noble Lord, Lord Callanan, when I last asked him on this issue when we would withdraw from the energy charter treaty, as other countries have. I asked if he might be able to announce it at COP 28. Sadly, he did not, but any announcement soon on this issue would be welcome.

My Lords, I rise to speak to Amendment 12 tabled by my noble friend Lady Willis. I also very much support Amendment 10 tabled by the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh of Pickering, and support her comments this evening.

As I mentioned during earlier stages of the Bill, I have been extremely concerned about the potential impact on domestic food production of the various trade deals that the Government have negotiated. Of course, it is vital that we negotiate trade deals that encourage reciprocal trade and benefit the economies of those involved. We absolutely need to do that. We in agriculture need access to global markets to have the opportunity to expand the range of excellent food products produced here in the UK. I fully respect the fact that other partners to this agreement expect access to our markets.

We are not afraid of competition. We have some of the most efficient farmers in the world, but competition must be fair. I am reassured by the Minister, in his opening statement this afternoon, that domestic standards will not change and will not be weakened. I thank him for that confirmation. However, that is not my primary concern. For those not close to the world of farming, let me explain what is currently taking place.

Farmers are about half way through a seven-year transitional period which involves the most radical shake-up of agricultural policy in over 70 years. All direct support is being removed, so that within about three years there will be no direct subsidies. Farmers will have to survive unsubsidised in the marketplace. Any future support will change to incentivise farmers to deliver public goods, mainly environmental outcomes, which is very appropriate in the light of climate change, loss of habits, et cetera. However, for farmers to survive and trade successfully in a very competitive global market, it is essential that competing businesses are able to operate under the same trading rules.

As has been stated by the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville, and my noble friend Lady Boycott, within this CPTPP agreement are countries where over 100 chemicals are used that are banned here in the UK. Not only does this represent a serious commercial disadvantage for UK farmers: we have to believe that they are banned for good reason. They were harmful either to ecosystems, or to people. I am sure that exporting partner countries will give us assurances that food commodities and products sent to the UK will conform to our high standards. However, it will be impossible to audit the myriad production systems to verify that this is the case. Therefore, this amendment is necessary to protect ourselves from potentially harmful chemicals and our farmers from unfair competition. It is important not only that our standards are not diluted but that we set international standards that are applied within this important trading partnership. We have an opportunity here to demonstrate global leadership, and we should seize it. The same principle applies to animal welfare standards and to our commitment to deliver higher environmental standards. I hope that the Minister will accept the principles behind these amendments.

My Lords, this group is the meat of Report. We have eight amendments in this group, and many have been ably introduced and explained. We have had detailed debates on all these issues in Committee, so there is no need to rehash all the arguments. I have tabled two amendments in this group and added my name to two others. I thank the Minister and his officials for making themselves available for discussions both before Committee and before Report. I will concentrate on the four amendments to which I have put my name. To be clear, like others, I am seeking commitments from the Minister on the quality, detail and depth of the impact assessment that the Government have committed to. We will listen to his response. The noble Lord, Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park, said he was seeking meaningful reassurances.

Impact assessments are a good thing. Understanding the effects of any new settlement, both the positive and the negative, is a sensible way of learning the lessons, especially as CPTPP, although small in the scale of trade, is varied in terms of the countries involved. Impact assessments on ISDS, animal welfare, pesticides, commodities, workers’ rights, forestry and public services are therefore vital tools in understanding the successes and failures, the winners and losers, of this deal. If the Minister truly believes in the CPTPP and is confident that its impact will be wholly positive, surely he will have no problem with this undertaking.

I turn to the amendments. Amendment 13 deals with labour standards. The basis for this amendment is very straightforward. Unions both here and abroad have deep concerns about the inadequacies of the labour chapters and the fact that the agreement would consider an infringement of labour rights actionable only if it is proved to have a deleterious effect on trade. The fact that many of the countries we would be joining do not comply with even the most basic ILO standards compounds this structural problem. Indeed, with regard to the eight ILO conventions, Brunei has ratified only two and Malaysia and Singapore only five each. Five of the 11 CPTPP nations have not ratified the convention on the freedom of association. In Mexico, for example, companies regularly engage in union busting and in Vietnam, union leadership is often controlled by senior management. It is important to note that no CPTPP Government have ever challenged another over labour rights violations. We are concerned that not only does lowering the barriers to trade with these countries encourage the continued abuse of workers globally but it could undermine the protections we have here for the sake of competitiveness.

The other reason for this amendment is so that we can assess the potential negative effects on UK businesses. We have heard this from a number of noble Lords. None of us wants to see the undercutting of UK manufacturers and producers by forced labour or breaches of labour standards. We are all aware of the US pausing imports of goods where forced labour was used.

Amendment 14 deals with the impact of the procurement chapter on UK public services. Many have raised the issue that the negative list approach to service listing in the CPTPP could expose the NHS to further privatisation. The ratchet clause as well as the ISDS provisions could preclude the Government taking services back under public control if it affected a private business’s profits. The Government have argued that the NHS will never be on the table, but it is hard to see how that can be true if they have made no effort to take it off the table. This amendment calls for an impact assessment to monitor progress in this area.

Amendment 9 deals with the ISDS—investor-state dispute settlement—provisions in the agreement. My noble friend Lord Davies of Brixton explained this in detail. Many other noble Lords have rightly highlighted this issue in particular. Given that the Government, by implication, agree that the ISDS provisions are outdated and dangerous by signing side-letters with Australia and New Zealand to preclude their use, it seems strange that the Secretary of State for Business and Trade would reject calls to do a similar deal with Canada, a particularly litigious member of the CPTPP, as many US businesses can testify.

It is vital, therefore, that we monitor the effect that ISDS has on our standards, and that is why an impact assessment is so important. My noble friend Lord Davies called for a close review, and he is correct. He also noted the chilling effects on government decision-making, which relates to the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, about Governments making decisions because they are concerned about their sovereign policy-making being affected by other businesses.

Amendment 11 deals with the deforestation. Again, this was well explained by the noble Lord, Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park. The fact that this trade eliminates tariffs on forest-risk commodities such as palm oil from Malaysia is clearly a cause for concern. Through this deal the UK could incentivise further deforestation of the rainforest and other environmentally destructive practices while at the same time placing UK farmers at a disadvantage. Indeed, the department’s own climate impact assessment states on page 79:

“Deforestation in CPTPP countries, where it occurs, has been driven by production of commodities such as cattle, timber, and palm oil. The majority of CPTPP members are not considered to be at risk of deforestation, except Malaysia which has experienced a 29% reduction in tree cover over the last 20 years. This has been driven by agricultural commodities which accounted for 93% of Malaysia’s tree cover loss since 2001, implying that international trade plays a key role in the country’s deforestation”.

These are the Government’s own words in their own impact assessment, so ensuring that deforestation and other issues are dealt with properly in the Government’s impact assessment in two years’ time is critical.

With regard to Amendment 12, we must ensure that our pesticide residue testing systems function as they should. This has been picked up by previous speakers. Like many noble Lords, I am concerned about the possibility of contaminated food entering the UK market and endangering public health. The WWF, among others, has raised concerns about this deal encouraging the use of pesticides abroad which could damage biodiversity.

With regard to Amendment 8, we must ensure that the rights of performers, as with those of other workers, are not undercut by this deal. Finally, on Amendment 10, I echo what has been said previously on environmental protections. The CPTPP does not even mention animal welfare, which makes an impact assessment even more important.

All the amendments in this group represent a chance for the Minister to prove that CPTPP accession can be monitored and assessed and that Parliament can have proper oversight of its consequences.

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have participated in this debate, particularly the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, for his engagement, his very good summary of the various amendments and the points that he raised. If the House will indulge me, I will go through the different points quite carefully because there are so many elements. I beg forgiveness if I do not cover every point. My noble friend Lady McIntosh laid down a very great number of requests, which I am happy to answer outside this debate, with the broad provisions to be raised where I can.

Let me stress again how seriously this Government take parliamentary scrutiny of our FTA agenda. With this in mind, a full impact assessment for the UK’s accession to the CPTPP was indeed published at signature in July 2023, which is important to note, alongside the accession protocol text and a draft Explanatory Memorandum. This included assessments of potential economic impact on UK GDP and environmental impacts. This is important. I will refer back to the Section 42 report where relevant to reinforce and, hopefully, reassure Members of this House of the benign impact of CPTPP membership on our environment and border controls.

I want to pick up on a point made by my noble friend Lady McIntosh of Pickering about supporting our farmers and agricultural producers in this country. It is absolutely at the core of this Government’s policy to do that. The reason I am excited about the CPTPP is because of what we will be able to achieve when it comes to promoting our dairy industry: the additional quota access that we will have, for example, for cheese into Canada; the opportunities we will have to sell chocolate into Malaysia, reducing tariffs significantly; the opportunity to sell Scotch whisky into many of the CPTPP countries with lower tariffs.

We can combine these trade agreements with the extraordinarily strong work done by my noble friend Lord Offord of Garvel, who is in his usual place today, with regard to supporting exporters, and with the muscle of the Department for Business and Trade, the work of the agricultural attachés, and all that we are doing to promote exports around the world. This is why we are here. This is a positive and powerful expression of the extraordinary economic reach of the United Kingdom, particularly in its agricultural sector. I understand that there are concerns, and I will cover them, but let us understand why we are here in the first place: to promote our agriculture—an extraordinarily powerful sector in this country—to expand its interests abroad and create more wealth for farmers in the United Kingdom.

I want to touch on the monitoring report, which we will publish after two years, as well as a comprehensive evaluation of the agreement after five years. This will include an assessment as to the environmental impacts. An inclusive and participatory process will be at the heart of the evaluation, providing structured opportunities for a wide range of stakeholders to share their views and provide evidence; that is, basically, a proper assessment and review.

I do not think it would be helpful to be specific on every single checkbox. I am keen to make any review useful. But I would be surprised—that is the language I wish to use—if the evaluation and monitoring reports did not cover information on: trade flows under CPTPP; utilisation of the agreement; ISDS cases, which will be important to many speakers today; an overview of the work of the committees under the agreement to facilitate co-operation and implementation—that is particularly relevant when it comes to labour standards, environmental standards, reduction of the risk of deforestation and many other areas. There will be information on the environment covering many of the issues discussed today and on the impact of the agreement on all parts of the United Kingdom.

This is important. I have been asked to make commitments at the Dispatch Box, and I am very comfortable doing so. It is vital to me as a proponent of free trade that we promote the benefits of this extraordinarily powerful multilateral agreement; I hope that will be shown in the impact assessments and in the reviews after two years and five years. My principal point about the amendments that have been put forward on this Bill is that they are unnecessary because we are doing this anyway.

I turn to deforestation and the issue of palm oil. I am very grateful to my noble friend Lord Goldsmith for his amendment and for the passion that he brings to this vital subject. I believe that he is to be celebrated as someone who has truly brought to bear some significant changes to the legislation of this country following on from the Environment Act and the secondary legislation around the obligations on businesses relating to deforestation, which we will be bringing in; I am reassured by my officials that we are aiming for spring of this year. I want to applaud the work of my noble friend and say how important it is, and how vital for the future of this country and the world, that trade does not lead to a degradation of our environment and natural habitats.

My son came to watch some of this debate. He has now left; I think the third hour was the final straw for an 11 year-old. We are doing this in order that our children will have a world to inherit, as well as a strong economy in the United Kingdom. At no point have we ever suggested that we should separate our obligations to the future of this planet in relation to the importance of free trade. Those who do that are mistaken. In my view, they are inextricably linked. The positives of free trade are so significant and the opportunity for dialogue allows us to solve these problems.

I want to touch on the point about palm oil, which is very powerful. The Trade and Agriculture Commission, for whose feedback I am extremely grateful, has noted that the Malaysian sustainable palm oil certification had become a mandatory condition since January 2020 for the palm oil industry, as has been raised. The new 2022 version prohibits palm oil cultivation on land cleared after December 2019. This is very important. Provided that this new standard is fully implemented by January 2025 and compliance with it is effectively enforced, there is a

“low risk that Malaysian palm oil exported to the UK would come from land that was deforested after December 2019”.

It goes on to say:

“Moreover, the UK may be able to enforce Malaysia’s implementation of the 2022 MPSO standard if failure to do so has an effect on bilateral trade”.

That is extremely relevant.

My noble friend Lord Goldsmith was right to point out that we are signatories to the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, which commits both parties—clearly, we are looking at Malaysia in this instance—to halt and, indeed, reverse forest losses by 2030. This is the whole point about the CPTPP. It allows us to align our values with our partner countries, to raise their standards, to enable and facilitate, through the power of free trade and the wealth that it creates, the opportunity to improve their environment. I am grateful to my noble friend for pressing us on these points and I hope that I have answered his questions to his satisfaction.

I rise to intervene, but I have been caught by the House with a nut in my mouth, which is terrible timing—if I could have thought of some medical excuse, I would have done so. I thank the Minister very much for his passionate call for harmonisation of trade and nature. He is right; there should be no separation between the two. I was pleased by his commitment that the diligence legislation will come in the spring. I know that it is not entirely in his hands, but I am pleased if that is the assurance that he has had from officials. It is important that it should come through. Without that legislation, the risk remains. It will be like closing the last hole in the bucket. I am grateful for his reassurances. I encourage him to continue to push the other departments responsible, but I thank him very much for his words.

I thank my noble friend for his comments.

I turn to Amendment 12 on pesticides, which have been raised by the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, and the noble Baroness, Lady Boycott—and I had conversations with the noble Baroness, Lady Willis, as well earlier this week. It is very important for noble Lords on all sides of the House to know about the work that I have personally been putting in to ensure that we have the right and appropriate border checks and security, and that the agreements allow us to ensure that we have control over our borders. I refer to my opening comments a few hours back that this free trade agreement—on implementation day plus one, or accession day, or on becoming a party to the CPTPP—makes no difference at all with regard to our import controls and our ability to control our own destiny. This is very relevant. It is essential, again, to return to the Trade and Agriculture Commission’s report, which says that the

“CPTPP has no effect on the UK’s existing WTO rights to regulate the import of products produced using pesticides that are harmful to UK animals, plants, or the environment”.

It is crucial to remember that. We would never derogate our responsibilities to our consumers. I am very grateful for the points raised by noble Lords today to ensure that they can feel a high degree of comfort that this is simply not the case, and that we have not done so by signing up to this agreement.

I want to touch on some of the comments made about the practicalities of administering our border controls. I took the liberty ahead of this debate of visiting our Thames Gateway port system and was shown the operations there in relation to risk-based assessments. I think that is the right way to manage our borders. It would be impossible to check every single thing coming through. It is very important to reinforce the point that the CPTPP does not grant equivalence on exporting parties. We are able—indeed, it is considered that we have increased our ability—to audit exporting parties’ mechanisms for their own domestic testing to ensure that there is robustness around the testing processes before food is exported to the United Kingdom. We believe that, fundamentally, compliance is high. Our ongoing monitoring programme provides assurance that food on the UK market complies with our rules and is safe to eat.

The programme is led by the Health and Safety Executive, with advice from Defra and the Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food. Our maximum residue levels are always set below, usually well below, the level considered to be safe for food consumption. For produce that has been declared as high-risk, special health controls are in place and checks must be carried out at import. It is important to note, and I know that people are concerned about the standards that we have rightly imposed upon ourselves in terms of turnaround times for customs, that that does not apply where there is a specific risk associated with certain types of imports—they can be suspended. At the same time there is a great degree of intelligence used to ensure, particularly with commodities, that there are risk-based approaches which allow us to assess whether there are specific areas of concern. There are lists drawn up to decide what is high-risk or lower-risk and how that can be managed.

The final point—again, this is important; I am responding with great sympathy with respect to my noble friend Lady McIntosh’s comments—is that the Food Standards Agency and Food Standards Scotland recently published data on compliance checks at the border for non-EU food and feed as part of the joint annual review on food standards. In 2022, they concluded that data on compliance checks carried out at the border showed no significant changes in compliance failure rates in recent years. The FSA will continue to closely monitor the risks. I am very aware that either this month or soon there will be additional processes relating to EU imports and so on. But we are assured that the processes are robust and I hope that people in this country and Peers in this House feel a sense of comfort at that.

Amendment 6 proposes a human rights impact assessment for indigenous and forest peoples. I really would like to stress that the UK Government are fully committed to the promotion and protection of human rights for all individuals, including indigenous people, without discrimination on any grounds. We support efforts in a range of activities—from joining important initiatives in multilateral fora to targeted support within bilateral programmes.

We have extensive monitoring and evaluation plans in place for this agreement and have already produced an impact assessment. We publish analysis that is proportionate to the scope of negotiations and our view is that further analysis in this instance is not proportionate. I also believe—and I am sure noble Lords will agree with me—that we are a leading advocate for human rights around the world. We remain committed to the promotion of universal human rights and publish an annual Human Rights and Democracy Report on our activities.

Of course, it is absolutely crucial that as a country we monitor these points. It is not necessarily effective to link this to the free trade agreements in terms of monitoring relating to CPTPP. I would just put that forward. But we continue to encourage all states to uphold international human rights obligations and hold those which violate human rights to account. I hope that statement gives a degree of comfort around that point.

On Amendment 10, we have covered some of this already in terms of the environmental protections as opposed to the import of pesticides. My noble friend Lady McIntosh mentioned the new labelling scheme. I have not had an opportunity to review that—I will, of course. It is to be noted that once a product has been imported into the country, it is difficult for there to be discriminatory labelling in terms of imported and domestically produced products—as I understand it. I would like to look at this in more detail, but predominantly the point about signing up to CPTPP is not to discriminate against imports from CPTPP countries, it is to celebrate the import opportunities that we have with our partner countries and, more importantly, to sell to the CPTPP member countries so that we can make the most of the extraordinary agricultural sector that we have in this country.

The procurement chapter of CPTPP includes a provision also found in the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement and other FTAs that exempts measures necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health, which is understood to include environmental measures. Again, to re-emphasise, we import only from countries that we already know are managing their biosecurity appropriately. The exporting countries are audited and their production establishments are inspected by their competent authorities and need to meet specific requirements to export to the UK. So signing up the CPTPP does not open the floodgates, as it were, to a whole range of exports that have not been checked.

There are two more amendments I would like to cover. The first is the amendment relating to ISDSs; the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, spoke very eloquently on this point, and the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Brixton, also raised very eloquently the issues around ISDSs. I have said this before and I say it again—and I mean this with no disrespect at all to noble Lords in this House—I have spent 30 years investing in many of these markets in CPTPP. The knowledge that we have of investor protections and investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms is, frankly, extremely important for the functioning of UK businesses when it comes to investing internationally. I have never understood why there was so much concern about or resistance to ISDSs. I have been told that the UK acting on its own has never lost an ISDS case. We have nothing to fear in this area.

I do not have the text of the CPTPP on ISDSs to hand, but I remember that it specifically allows you to make legislation relating to the environment and to labour and so on. We are concerned that somehow we will be boxed in from controlling our destiny. We have absolute full control. What we are unable to do is to discriminate between how we treat international investors relative to domestic investors—and that is incredibly important for our businesses when investing overseas. Frankly, it is not so relevant to investing in the UK, because we have a very strong sense of the rule of law and property rights.

I am proud that we have never had a successful case against us. I do not think we have anything to fear. The noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, asked whether there would be a review and whether we were looking at more effective mechanisms. ISDS as a principle is 50 years old, probably—even older than I am. Maybe the mechanisms need to be reviewed in terms of how effectively they are performing in protecting our businesses —frankly, that is one of the core functions—and whether or not there is additional risk. I am very comfortable encouraging that review as Investment Minister, but I do not see why there is such alarm placed around these measures in this Bill. Clearly, I would resist that amendment.

I turn to the last two points on labour standards. I am greatly appreciative of the noble Lord, Lord McNicol, for raising this point. I can assure noble Lords that the government procurement chapter of CPTPP—which is most relevant and to which this is linked, and of course we are talking about the whole treaty here—will not affect our ability to comply with any of our own commitments. In just the same way that we control our borders and our standards, the UK can continue to set its own standards and meet its obligations under the ILO. I wrote to the noble Lord, Lord McNicol—I have a copy of the letter here, and I hope it has been lodged in the Library—giving strong reassurance about the sort of dialogue that we are having with our CPTPP partners, where it is most relevant. I have stressed again that the whole point about joining multilateral treaties such as this is to enable us to engage in these sorts of debates, which enables us to drive forward our important values-related agenda, and also ensure that our workforces are not disadvantaged through inappropriate actions on behalf of other Governments. This is absolutely the core of our belief in the process of free trade, our support for the ILO and the evolution of the most recent declarations. We have a forum that allows us to discuss how these can be implemented and specific committees that will enable us to drive that agenda forward.

Lastly, on public services, it is absolutely right to ensure that we are not selling the NHS or trying to find some backdoor mechanism for derogation of our public services. This has been debated many times. There is no specific mention in the CPTPP of the NHS because, much to everyone’s surprise, not every country in the CPTPP has an NHS, so clearly when they originally drafted their provisions they did not necessarily consider including it. There is absolutely no mention of the NHS in a positive or negative sense. We have made it very clear that, apart from when it comes to the procurement for basic supplies and certain supplies—which is absolutely right, we are buying from a global market—that we protect our public services and we make that very strong commitment.

I hope that I have covered a great quantity of points. I remain available after this debate to discuss anything specific, but I ask the noble Baroness, Lady Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville, to withdraw her amendment so that we can move forward to the next stage of the debate.

My Lords, I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in this debate, which has allowed us to look at the impact of a number of issues around the CPTPP. I thank everybody for doing that.

I am particularly concerned about the announcement by the Secretary of State at the Oxford Farming Conference about labelling. I find it astounding that a label might say that the goods have not been produced to the standards that are pertinent here. I agree that it would be much better if those goods were not imported in the first place rather than relabelled when they got here.

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Goldsmith, for his support. It is really important that we deal with the issue of making sure that iconic animals do not lose their habitat. An 80% loss of habitat means that we will no longer have those iconic species.

The Minister is very excited about the effects of the Bill and the opportunities it will produce for farmers. I am afraid I am not quite as enthusiastic as he is. I hope it will be exactly as he says, but I am afraid that, as far as I am concerned, the jury is out. I will have to wait to see what happens.

On pesticides, I cannot see that testing by taking at face value a form that has been filled in, and not doing any spot testing of actual products, will ensure that toxins from the other countries we will be trading with will not find their way here. The importation of goods with pesticides in will damage our farmers. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh of Pickering, for giving us the powerful example of what happened to pig farmers when pigmeat produced in substandard conditions was imported into this country. It undercut our pig farmers, who were absolutely wiped out.

Having said all that, I think I will have to wait to see what happens. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 6 withdrawn.

Amendment 7

Moved by

7: After Clause 5, insert the following new Clause—

“Qualifying countries(1) Section 206 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (qualifying countries, individuals and persons) is amended as follows.(2) In subsection (1)(bb) for “Rome Convention” substitute “Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership”.”Member’s explanatory statement

This amendment would remove the Rome convention (and therefore its parties) from the definition of a “qualifying country” and substitute it with the CPTPP (and therefore its parties).

My Lords, I congratulate the Minister on his tour de force in responding to the large number of amendments in the last group. I hope that the mere two amendments in this group will make life a little easier for him.

I have tabled these amendments merely to enable further debate on an issue that, frankly, was not satisfactorily resolved in Committee. The Minister is well aware that the copyright provisions in the Bill, not least in relation to performers’ rights, have caused significant confusion and concern among rights holders. In Committee the Minister sought to clarify the position. I fear that some confusion remains, but I am enormously grateful to him and his officials for the meeting we had subsequently and for the letter that he sent to me afterwards. I say to him that I have noted that the IPO consultation on the matters we are debating today started yesterday.

The upshot, for those not familiar with what this is all about, is simple: the Intellectual Property Office and the Minister believe that changes to our copyright law contained in the Bill are necessary for our accession to the CPTPP while I, rights holders’ representatives and some legal experts do not believe that that is the case. For instance, the CPTPP requires member countries to ratify the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty, the WPPT. The UK did that over 20 years ago and there have been no concerns about it in subsequent years; no one has suggested that in the way we have implemented it we have got it wrong. Yet the Government now belatedly seem to suggest that somehow or other our legislation does not meet WPPT standards regarding the protection granted to performers and phonogram producers, so the law has to be changed. I note that the IPO’s consultation on changes in this area specifically says that existing arrangements in some cases are not consistent with treaties on copyright, which seems to suggest that for a long period we have somehow not been doing what we should have been under treaties that we signed some years ago.

However, legal experts think the Government and the IPO have got it wrong. For example, they argue that we fulfil the treaty obligations by protecting performers on the basis of reciprocity, the triggering of which simply does not require any action by the Government, based on Article 4(2) of the WPPT. As further evidence that change is not needed, it should be noted that the changes in the Bill that are deemed necessary were not even referred to when the UK negotiated trade agreements with both Australia and Japan, both of which are members of the CPTPP. Surely the Minister should explain to us what specifically it is in the CPTPP agreement that requires these changes in UK law, and why they were not deemed necessary when the agreements were signed with Australia and Japan. I also note that, when Australia itself became a member of the CPTPP, it did not make any changes to its copyright framework, despite also being a signatory to the relevant treaties. Again I ask: why is it the UK’s view that our current regime is out of kilter with the measures outlined in the CPTPP agreement?

The Minister’s letter to me stated that widening the benefits to foreign performers, whether or not they are based in CPTPP countries, is required under national treatment and most favoured nation obligations under our broader treaty obligations. If I am correct, he is saying that, since we are expanding the rights because of what they believe is required under the CPTPP, we must provide those to all foreign performers. However, other member countries of the CPTPP do not do that, so why has the UK interpreted that in the way it has? Could the Minister perhaps share any correspondence with us that the Government have had from the secretariat of the CPTPP, or from signatories to the CPTPP agreement, in which they have asked to the UK to make these changes—or is it just that the UK has unilaterally decided that our framework is not compatible?

We should be concerned about this, because broadening rights, as the Government are proposing in the Bill, not just in CPTPP countries but in many other countries, is a real cause for concern. Under the current arrangements, for example, because reciprocity is not offered by the US, US performers are not entitled to receive equitable remuneration. As a result, the share of revenues collected by UK licence holders for US recordings remains in the UK and is used to invest in UK artists and their recordings. Under the proposed changes—at least until some mitigation measures are introduced—the US will benefit, to the detriment of the UK. More generally, the measures will enable more performers to fish in the pond of UK royalties, ultimately reducing the amount that we can make available to UK performers and their labels.

Up until the consultation that started yesterday, the Government had not made any assessment of what the impact would be. That means we now have to turn to the consultation that started yesterday. We were told throughout that the consultation would be on the measures contained within the Bill required for accession to the CPTPP, but I have the consultation on my iPad—or at least I will once I have entered my passcode—and, under the heading “Other intended changes not subject to this consultation”, it tells us:

“On 16 July 2023, the UK signed the Protocol … which outlines the terms … In order to comply with obligations … some changes to UK legislation are required with regard to rights in performances. These changes are necessary for the UK to accede to CPTPP and must be made before accession”.

We are arguing that that is not the case, but it is the Government’s position. The consultation continues:

“This will involve expanding the eligibility criteria for rights in performances”,

and says these changes will be made in the Bill that we are currently debating. It states:

“Both the changes in the Bill and the accompanying secondary legislation will take effect when the CPTPP enters into force”.

It then says, very precisely, in paragraph 27:

“These changes are not the subject of this consultation”.

While we were told that the consultation would tell us, belatedly, what this was all about, so we could understand it, with model examples and anecdotes provided, we now discover that what we have all waited for patiently is not relevant to the Bill that we are debating, and that the Bill will introduce a series of measures that many people believe are not necessary and are a mistaken understanding of the current situation that could have a serious detrimental impact on the UK’s creative industries. We do not know how big that will be, and the Government are asking us to take on trust that there may be some further changes coming as a result of this consultation, which will conclude long after we have finished debating this Bill in your Lordships’ House. So we will not even have the benefit of hearing from all the people who will be consulted before we make decisions.

I hope the Minister will acknowledge that the concern continues. These two amendments are merely to provide an opportunity for the Minister to clarify a situation that so many of us believe is totally and absolutely unclear —making changes that are not necessary for the sake of accession to CPTPP, which are worth considering for the future for some other reason, perhaps, but should be done totally separately from the deliberations we are having now. We should have had a clear impact assessment of these measures and justification for their introduction provided long before this stage of deliberations on the Bill. I hope the Minister will conclude by saying how this House will have an opportunity to have a further discussion on these issues when more information is made available as a result of the consultation.

My Lords, I rise briefly in support of Amendments 7 and 8 from the noble Lord, Lord Foster. I will say only one thing on the concerns about performance rights, because the noble Lord, Lord Foster, summarised the problem very comprehensively. Before I do, I wish to thank the Minister for his extremely prompt reply by letter to our concerns on the artist’s resale right in relation to the CPTPP that we discussed in Committee and for agreeing so quickly to set up a meeting on this, which I believe will take place on Monday. I look forward very much to that.

The single thing I will say about performance rights in relation to this Bill is to iterate a concern that Music Week, in response to the IPO consultation, raised yesterday. It highlights the importance and principle of reciprocity that the noble Lord, Lord Foster, mentioned. My understanding is that, until now, performance rights have been based on the principle of equitable remuneration, but this Bill potentially puts that in danger. There is a fundamental question—as the noble Lord, Lord Foster, said—to be asked about why the music and broadcasting industries are being put through the wringer on this when they are broadly happy with the status quo. If—and it is an “if”, because there are a number of options—the Government go down a particular route whereby, because of a reduction in the money going to US labels, US music is effectively free to play in the UK but UK music, particularly new UK music, is not, the concern is that, to quote Music Week,

“domestic acts might be squeezed out by UK broadcasters looking to save money”.

I hope the Minister will agree that that kind of asymmetric, or inequitable, scenario is one that needs to be avoided—although I am sure that that point and more will be made by interested parties in response to the consultation, which I hope that the Government will look at very closely.

My Lords, I am speaking to Amendments 7 and 8, and I thank all noble Lords for their contributions.

Intellectual property, particularly copyright, plays a pivotal role in the global trade in creative content, with the UK music industry serving as a prime example of its significance. It is imperative to acknowledge the substantial impact of copyright on fostering innovation and ensuring the efficient operation of markets. Additionally, it is crucial to recognise existing obligations under international copyright treaties and ensure their full and correct implementation by the signatories of the CPTPP. While the fundamental rights encompassing reproduction, broadcasting, communication to the public and distribution are addressed within CPTPP, it is disheartening to note that member states retain the option to opt out of certain obligations. Furthermore, the non-recognition of copyright protection for the utilisation of recorded music in broadcasting and public performance remains a regrettable challenge. To comply with obligations in the CPTPP, as mentioned earlier by the noble Lord, Lord Foster, changes need to be made to UK legislation with regard to rights in performance. We share some of the concerns in the noble Lord’s contribution earlier, and we would welcome an impact assessment to help us understand some of these non-compliance cases.

Will the Minister respond to the following questions, as mentioned earlier by the noble Lord, Lord Foster? Why is the extension of rights in sound recordings and performance to foreign nationals not covered under this consultation? At the same time, can the Minister share with the House when the results of this consultation will be published? Will there be a statement on collective management organisations, given their importance for the income of composers, performers and rights holders? Can the Minister also confirm that UK musicians are able to tour throughout CPTPP member states without any barriers and checks?

I am extremely grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Foster, for bringing this amendment, for the discussions and dialogue we have had, for the correspondence I have enjoyed with the noble Earl, Lord Clancarty, and for the excellent summation by the noble Lord, Lord Leong—I was about to say “my noble friend” because he is a good friend—who asked some key questions. I am afraid I do not have the answer to the final question that the noble Lord, Lord Leong, asked about the touring rights of artists. I will write to him on that; it is a very good point, and we very much hope that clearly the additional facilities that we have, in terms of temporary business entry for CPTPP countries, may include this. I hope it will and I will confirm this.

Some good points have been raised. In response, first, I will say that the desire to treat performers equitably is the right thing to do. Currently, there are a number of performers who are excluded from receiving the 50% mandatory royalty payment, simply because they come from another country or their work has not been registered in the appropriate fashion. The consultation, which started yesterday and will report on 11 March, is not specifically a consultation on the CPTPP, because we wanted it to be a far wider consultation around the principles of broadcast rights—but clearly it will reflect on the discussion we are having now.

Understanding the difference between how we operate artists’ performance rights today and how they will operate under CPTPP has been an interesting process. The reality is that we are doing this as a result of our treaty obligations and the most favoured nation principles, extending these rights to other countries that may not necessarily reciprocate. But it is more subtle than that, so I will explore this a little further. Given how music is produced now, nearly all of it is released simultaneously. In my view, apart from music that is defined and not released on a global scale—although, of course, fundamentally it is, given how it is published using modern media and communication techniques—nearly all music, or a huge amount of additional quantity, would already be in the market, even if we did not have this specific extension to the most favoured nation status of the other countries. It is important to highlight this. As a result, we may be slightly confusing the cornerstone issues here. However, the consultation will give us an opportunity to take a step back and frame how we want to manage artists’ performance payments for broadcast media. Reflecting the letter I wrote to the noble Lord, Lord Foster, that is not a significant amount of overall payments in numeric terms—the majority of music revenues are generated through streaming and other sales.

I am happy to have further conversations on this. As the Lords Minister covering CPTPP, I am clearly comfortable with participating in a proper and deep discussion on the responses to the consultation. I do not share some noble Lords’ concerns about the effect this will have on the industry; that is not because I do not take this seriously but because I believe that the CPTPP measures themselves will have an effect. The additional applicable countries with most favoured nation status will not necessarily create the effect that some noble Lords suggest. That is because of how the world of music production has changed—it will broadly entitle more artists to be perceived to be in CPTPP countries.

I do not know whether I have explained this with any more clarity, but I take very seriously the points of the noble Lord, Lord Foster. I have been privileged to engage with him on this matter. We are having a consultation, and we will review this very seriously. I do not think there is any political mileage one way or the other in this. We want to get to the right outcome that supports the UK music industry, and ensures that our artists are properly rewarded and that the British music industry is not disadvantaged in any way. I believe that signing up to this agreement will benefit our artists, allowing them better protections in these markets than what we may have to offer in return. In this instance, on a technical point, I ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment for those reasons.

My Lords, I am grateful to all noble Lords who took part in the debate, and of course to the Minister for his response, although I confess that I was somewhat disappointed with it. I asked a series of questions. Why were these issues not covered when we did trade deals with Australia and Japan? I got no answer to that. I asked why Australia did not change its ways of dealing with this matter when it joined CPTPP, and which countries within CPTPP are operating in the way that the Government now want the UK to. I further asked a simple question about why we were told that the consultation—which the Minister has now said is so important on this issue—specifically says that the decisions we are taking within the Bill are not part of it. He hinted that there is a possibility of further consideration of this, and I look forward to finding a way of doing that. I say to all noble Lords that my fear is that the decisions will now be made by the Government long after your Lordships’ House has had any opportunity to have further involvement in making decisions on this issue. Nevertheless, I beg leave to withdraw.

Amendment 7 withdrawn.

Amendments 8 to 14 not moved.

Amendment 15

Moved by

15: After Clause 5, insert the following new Clause—

“Review: application in Northern IrelandWithin three years of the day on which this Act is passed and every three years thereafter the Secretary of State must lay before Parliament a review of the application of section 4 (designations of origin and geographical indications) to Northern Ireland, including—(a) a consultation of such persons as the Secretary of State considers appropriate;(b) an assessment of the impact of European Union legislation relating to geographical indications and conformity assessment of goods listed in Annex 2 of the Windsor Framework on Northern Ireland;(c) an assessment of the impact of Northern Ireland being subject to different geographical indication and technical barriers to trade provisions to England and Wales and Scotland.”Member’s explanatory statement

This is related to the amendment in the name of Baroness Lawlor to Clause 6, page 6, line 42.

My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend the Minister for discussing my Amendments 15 and 16 with me. He is taking our discussion back to the department for consultation, and his letter will follow this week. For reasons of fairness and transparency, and in the interests of having better laws, I hope he will consider the question further.

This is an enabling Bill: it is to enable the UK to be compliant with the CPTPP, for which it signed the protocol of accession last July, in order to implement the arrangements for government procurement, in Clause 3, and those for technical barriers to trade, in Clause 2. These include conformity assessment bodies and, in Clause 4, intellectual property, including the designation of origin and geographical indications, as well as performers’ rights.

Although the whole Bill extends to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland—that is stated in it—it does not apply to Northern Ireland in respect of Clauses 2 and 4, on conformity assessment and geographical indications. That is not stated in the Bill, but it is noted in the Department for Business and Trade’s Explanatory Notes, published with the Bill on 8 November. They explain that it will be under the EU, given the Windsor Framework. Both my Amendments 15 and 16 deal with the consequences of this, and I will speak to them now. I am very grateful to my noble friend Lord Jackson of Peterborough for supporting and signing these amendments.

My Amendment 16 to Clause 6, on extent, seeks to make this clear in the Bill by adding that it

“extends to but does not apply in Northern Ireland”.

However, looking at it again, I think the amendment should also stipulate this in respect of Clauses 2 and 4. That would make the position under the Bill transparent, as in the Explanatory Notes of the Department for Business and Trade.

From my noble friend’s reply and letter on this point, I understand that when his officials—to whom I am grateful—looked into the drafting of Clause 6 with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, the advice was that the text reflected recommended drafting practice for amending retained EU law where it extends to the UK, even if its application is to GB—the convention being that the general application

“should not usually be included”.

I will pick up on the word “usually”. We are talking here about a very unusual occurrence. The law is being made by another jurisdiction for part of the UK’s own jurisdiction, to which the Bill extends but does not apply. This is not a matter of powers delegated to different Parliaments of the UK, so perhaps my noble friend the Minister will think again about including this exception in the Bill. It should be fair to the people who may see it as extending to them but cannot see where the law says it does not apply to them.

My Amendment 15, proposing a new clause after Clause 5, would require a review and assessment to be made of the impact on Northern Ireland of its being subject to different geographical indications and TBT provisions from those in England, Wales and Scotland. To do this, it would be necessary to assess the impact of EU legislation on GIs and conformity assessments of goods so affected.

I know that as matters stand there are very few PGIs in Northern Ireland—Comber new potatoes, Armagh Bramley apples, Lough Neagh eels—and one protected designation of origin: Lough Neagh pollan. However, there may be more in future. I will not revisit the argument I have made to the Minister in other debates, but we are looking at a different sort of EU law applying to businesses in Northern Ireland for these two clauses—the code-based law of the EU instead of the common-law approach, which is more business-friendly. I will not go through that here, but it is fair that the different systems should be reviewed in comparison with the UK system.

This is all the more important given the fluid nature of the Windsor Framework and the aims of the Government, which may lead to further easing of economic and trade restrictions under EU law. Indeed, the Prime Minister mentioned in his speech of 13 December that he

“stands ready to legislate to protect Northern Ireland’s integral place in the UK and the UK internal market”.

While I am grateful for the Minister’s explanation, I am not convinced that leaving this matter to other arrangements for review under other laws is fair. Given the fluid nature of the Windsor Framework and given that the Bill extends to Northern Ireland even if it does not apply to it, a special review is needed. I beg to move.

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Lawlor, and the noble Lord, Lord Jackson, on these two amendments.

It is important that we in this House always try to be as open and transparent as possible about what is in the law but, frankly, this Bill is very confusing. It mentions none of the ways in which Northern Ireland is excluded and only on page 15 of the Explanatory Notes is there a long list of the different parts of the United Kingdom and the provision for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Clause 2 applies to England, Wales and Scotland, and extends to Northern Ireland—most people reading this would think, “Great, it is obviously extended to Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom”—but does not apply there. Again, Clause 4 applies to Scotland, England and Wales and extends to Northern Ireland, but does not apply there.

The way the noble Baroness talked about the word “usual” and how unusual this is was so apt. It goes to the heart of everything in the protocol and the Windsor Framework that we have been talking about for a long time. The Government of the United Kingdom have not been open, honest or straightforward with the people of Northern Ireland about what the Windsor Framework means. Every week or month we find something new and different from which Northern Ireland is being left out. Yesterday we found it was left out of live animal exports, so poor animals in Northern Ireland can be sent over the border into the Republic and down to the south of Ireland, on to a boat and off on a very long journey to France or Morocco. We have the current debate about the Rwanda Bill; it will probably not apply to Northern Ireland in the same way.

We cannot apply this Bill to Northern Ireland because we have delegated powers to the European Union. A foreign jurisdiction and a foreign court are running parts of our country. This House should be ashamed of what is happening. I very much support the amendment to bring this out into the open so that people understand that what the Government say the Windsor Framework and protocol are doing is not actually happening.

My Lords, I too thank the noble Baroness, Lady Lawlor, and congratulate her on bringing these matters to the attention of your Lordships’ House and highlighting once again the importance of transparency and lucidity in these issues and their effects on Northern Ireland.

Despite the Prime Minister’s attempts to claim the Windsor Framework as a success for his leadership and the Tory Government, it has not accomplished its main purpose: to restore devolution in Northern Ireland. One reason for that has been not just the lack of substantive change in the Windsor Framework compared with the Northern Ireland protocol—it purports to replace it but in fact there was just a decision of the joint council to rename the Northern Ireland protocol as the Windsor Framework in British law—but the overselling, spin and hyperbole, particularly by the Prime Minister but also others, when it was published. It was sold as a wonderful transformation that would erase the Irish Sea border and so on, but has done nothing of the sort and could never do so.

That lack of transparency, honesty and frankness with people about what the Government could and could not do and what they were putting forward is at the heart of the problem. If their new proposals are published, we will no doubt hear more of this in the coming days and weeks, but this Bill lacks transparency for the reasons set out by the noble Baroness in proposing her amendment.

Paragraph 53 of the Explanatory Notes includes an amazing new concept in legislation passed by this UK Parliament: laws that extend to parts of the United Kingdom but do not apply there. This is bizarre. It is not highlighted or made explicit in the Bill, as the noble Baroness has said, but hidden in the Explanatory Notes. In over 300 areas of law governing the economy of Northern Ireland, we are governed by laws made by a foreign polity—in its interests, not ours—which are not susceptible to amendment and in the development of which we have no role. It is an incredible concept, but it is not new. It was first flagged up in the main body of the withdrawal agreement and the original protocol when the Government told us that Northern Ireland would be a member of the UK customs union but that the EU customs code would actually apply.

This is a concept that is not only bizarre but inherently undemocratic and unsustainable. It a concept that is at the root of the lack of devolution in Northern Ireland. Despite efforts to browbeat, bully and otherwise people in Northern Ireland, UK citizens living there simply want the right to be able to make laws and send representatives either to Stormont or to this place to make the laws that govern them. That is an entirely reasonable position.

The Government really should now learn the lesson that they should be open and transparent about what they have created and what they are about in relation to legislation which is restricted for Northern Ireland. They cannot legislate any more; they have given away the power to a foreign body. Who would ever have thought that we would have reached such a position in this mother of Parliaments following Brexit, which was about bringing back control?

I would like to hear the Minister give a commitment that, in future, these amendments will be taken on board by the Government, and that, for as long as this iniquitous position pertains, legislation being brought forward falling within the remit of Windsor Framework provisions will be explicit and say so in such legislation.

I am extremely grateful to my noble friends Lady Lawlor and Lord Jackson for Amendments 15 and 16, and to my noble friend Lady Lawlor for the very useful conversations we have had on this matter. Of course, the input from the noble Baroness, Lady Hoey, and the noble Lord, Lord Dodds, is always extremely welcome.

I am very sensitive to this matter. To be honest, I see my role as bringing a powerful trade deal to the whole of the United Kingdom. I am very aware of the points being raised by noble Lords in this House, but, I am afraid, at this stage of the proceedings I must concentrate on the specifics.

To answer the amendments specifically, I assure my noble friends that we will keep this under review once an Act and stakeholders in Northern Ireland will be an important part of that. Regarding the application of EU law in Northern Ireland, I remain of the view that the people of Northern Ireland are best placed to scrutinise the legislation applicable in Northern Ireland once the Northern Ireland Executive is restored. The Windsor Framework will provide them access to the Stormont brake, as noble Lords will well know. This will enable them to block specific laws impacting Northern Ireland. Furthermore, there will be regular opportunities for the people of Northern Ireland to have a say, via the consent vote. These are all points that have been well raised.

The CPTPP takes account of the Windsor Framework, and it is specifically noted that this is the case. Amendment 16 is superfluous, because under the Windsor Framework the EU’s GI schemes continue to apply to Northern Ireland. Our accession to CPTPP does not alter this. The treaty, accession and becoming a party to CPTPP do not change any of the discussions that noble Lords have had previously about Northern Ireland.

Additionally, the text reflects the recommended drafting practice in Bills for amending an assimilated EU regulation where the extent is to the UK, even if application is only to Great Britain. I have worked with my officials to see whether or not it is appropriate to include the phrase, and the reality is that it is not considered appropriate. It is felt that it would cause complications and confusion in the drafting of the Bill.

I hope noble Lords will be assured that I have spent a great deal of time discussing these points internally. I am very comfortable, as Investment Minister—as I am sure my noble friend Lord Offord of Garvel will be in his role as Exports Minister—to continue the work that we have done to promote Northern Ireland, following on from the success of the well-supported Northern Ireland Investment Summit and the work my colleague is doing to ensure that we have a strong export market for first-class Northern Irish produce. This will benefit from our trading relationships through CPTPP.

I look upon this Bill as an enormous positive for trade in Northern Ireland. We will do everything we can at the Department for Business and Trade to make sure that traders, businesspeople, farmers and citizens of Northern Ireland can get the most benefit from it. I recommend that the technical amendments that my noble friend Lady Lawlor seeks to place in the Bill are not pressed, because I do not think they will help in the promotion of CPTPP or in the clarity of the Bill. I am very grateful for this debate at this stage of Report.

I am very grateful to my noble friend the Minister for his constructive approach to our discussions. Though I confess to being a bit disappointed by some of things I have heard, I am heartened by the support of your Lordships and the contribution to the debate of noble Lords today.

It is very important that we should be transparent in our laws. I welcome the CPTPP—I think it is a wonderful treaty. I would like the fact that we are moving to our own laws on business and the economy to mean that this position applies to Northern Ireland, as part of our jurisdiction and as part of the UK’s entire economic area. However, I understand that that is not the purpose of this Bill. I understand what the Minister has been advised of on the conventions. I am not happy with the conventions but I hope that we can continue to work to do what we can to make sure that Bills in this House are more transparent. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 15 withdrawn.

Amendment 16 not moved.