November 30, 2017
The Committee explains that its report, published in March 2017, set out the central challenges facing the Government as it began to set the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU and the rest of the world after Brexit. It particularly highlighted the importance of establishing the UK’s position at the World Trade Organisation.
It also sought clarity and reassurance from the Government about various aspects of establishing new trading arrangements with the EU and other trade partners, not least “grandfathering” the trade agreements from which the UK currently benefits as an EU member.
Since that time, the Government has published a series of papers on “the new deep and special partnership the UK is seeking to build with the European Union.” In its response to the Committee’s report, the Government explains that these papers “represent the hard work and detailed thinking that has been going on behind the scenes across Whitehall over the past twelve months.” Further, it says, they offer “pragmatic and innovative solutions to issues related to our withdrawal and the future partnership that we want with the EU.”
The Government also refers to the Prime Minister’s speech in Florence, which it says, “set out the scale of our ambition as well as our proposal for a clear, time-limited implementation period”, and which set out “a bold and ambitious vision for our future relationship with the EU once we have left.”
Further, the Government notes, it also published a White Paper on 9 October: “Preparing for our future UK trade policy”, which set out the principles that will guide the UK’s independent trade policy as well as laying out the practical steps that will support those aims.
The Government has now published a formal response to each of the recommendations made in the Committee’s report. However, it appears not to offer any new information. Committee Chair, Angus McNeil said: “The lack of progress demonstrated by the Government’s response, and the lack of detail provided, is particularly disappointing given how long we have waited for it.” To read the Committee’s news release in full and for a link to the Government’s response, click here.