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Trade Negotiations: Human Rights

Volume 737: debated on Thursday 14 September 2023

7. What recent discussions she has had with (a) NGOs and (b) charities on the inclusion of human rights considerations in trade negotiations. (906373)

The Government are committed to universal human rights, the rule of law, free speech and fairness. Those values guide all aspects of our international policy, including our approach to trade.

As trade talks continue with many countries that have deplorable human rights records and as discussions continue with India, will the Minister ensure that we receive binding commitments on human rights—particularly in relation to labour practices—rather than simply warm words, and that discussions continue with NGOs, which are well placed, and often better placed than the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, on what is going on?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his question. The UK will continue to show global leadership in encouraging all states to uphold international human rights obligations and to hold those who violate or abuse human rights to account. The UK has successfully included labour, environment and gender provisions in the free trade agreements that we have signed—with Australia and New Zealand, for example. Those both contained dedicated chapters on trade, gender equality, labour and the environment. They uphold human rights but, crucially, also level the playing field for our UK businesses.