Documents to download

On 8 September 2020, the second reading of the Trade Bill is scheduled to take place in the House of Lords. The bill would:

  • enable the UK to implement obligations arising from acceding to the international Government Procurement Agreement in its own right;
  • enable the UK to implement in domestic law obligations arising under international trade agreements the UK signs with countries that had an existing international trade agreement with the EU;
  • formally establish a new Trade Remedies Authority;
  • enable HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to collect information on the number of exporters in the UK; and
  • enable data sharing between HMRC and other private and public sector bodies to fulfil public functions relating to trade.

The bill’s provisions implementing international trade agreements related to what the Government calls “continuity agreements” that seek to replicate the UK’s existing trading relationships with the EU’s partner countries. The bill does not contain powers to implementing any agreement the UK reaches with the EU about their future trading relationship or any new free trade agreements the UK might make with countries that do not currently have a free trade agreement with the EU.

The bill was amended at report stage in the House of Commons to add government new clauses to enable data sharing between HMRC and other bodies. Four amendments were defeated on division. These related to:

  • parliamentary approval of trade agreements;
  • food standards for imported agricultural goods after the end of the Brexit transition period;
  • excluding the NHS and publicly funded health and care services from trade agreements; and
  • the consent of the devolved administration to regulations made by the UK Government under the bill in areas of devolved competence.

A very similar, but not identical, Trade Bill was introduced by Theresa May’s Government in the 2017–19 parliament. This bill fell when Parliament was dissolved for the 2019 general election.


Documents to download

Related posts

  • In the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill, the Government is seeking to ensure unfettered access to the UK internal market for “qualifying Northern Ireland goods”. On 30 November 2020, the House of Lords is due to debate the draft Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020. They contain the definition of “qualifying Northern Ireland goods” that will apply to the bill. This article explains the background to the regulations, and why the Government also intends to introduce further legislation in this area.

  • Medicinal and agrochemical products can be granted a Supplementary Protection Certificate, an intellectual property right associated with patents, to provide up to five years of additional rights and protections once their patents have expired. In order to apply for an SPC, a product must receive approval to be sold on the UK market. Under the Northern Ireland/Ireland Protocol, products to be sold in Northern Ireland must obtain approval under EU law, whilst products to be sold in the rest of the UK will obtain approval under UK law. Currently, this marketing authorisation is only given on a UK-wide basis. This regulation amends the market authorisation process to enable authorisations to be granted for the Northern Ireland market only and for the Great Britain market only.