Parliament

CPTPP: Conclusion of Negotiations

Published date : 17 April, 2023
I thank the Secretary of State for advance sight of her statement. No matter how she tries to dress this up, the CPTPP will still be a low standards agreement that lacks adequate safeguards and represents a poor substitute for all the trade deals that we have left behind. If this represents the future, then it is no wonder that people in Scotland are looking for a different future in that regard.

Previous Ministers—including the previous Brexit Secretary, no less—failed to understand the important role that the port of Dover plays in UK imports and exports. I would not normally consider this necessary, but I feel that I may have to explain, for the benefit of some of the sedentary chunterers across the Chamber, that the Pacific is quite some distance away from the UK, which is why even the Government’s own forecasts are predicting that the UK emissions of greenhouse gases will increase as a result of this deal.

The deal threatens UK food standards because it could open the door to pesticides that are banned in the UK for health and environmental reasons. Worryingly, it also includes text about investor-state dispute settlement clauses, with all the implications that carries, and for absolutely what? The Minister can dance on the head of a pin about the difference between models and forecasts, but the deal is still a pale imitation of the trade deals that we have left behind, with the 4% hit to GDP from Brexit.

Why are the Government so desperate to agree a deal that carries so many risks for so few potential rewards? Where is the support for the domestic agrifood sector? Finally, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ActionAid, Fair Trade and the Trade Justice Movement all say that the deal makes a mockery of this Government’s sustainable trade goals. Are they wrong?

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