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Future trade with the EU

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The Department for International Trade (DIT) today (5th January 2017) released a White Paper Preparing for our future UK trade policy.

This paper follows on from the Trade White Paper published in October and asked for views both on the specific legal powers and
the broader developing approach for the future Trade policy. The request for input, generated almost 8000 responses from a cross-section of business and society and this is the response and follow-up actions from the DIT.

It covers the following topics

  • Supporting a rules-based global trading environment
    • Schedules (WTO)
    • GPA
  • Boosting our trade relationships
    • Trading with the EU
    • Trading with the rest of the world
    • Transitioning EU-Third Country trade agreements
    • Negotiating and implementing new trade agreements
  • Supporting developing countries to reduce poverty
    • UK trading arrangements with developing countries
  • Ensuring a level playing field
    • Trade remedies
    • Conducting trade disputes
  • Trade that is transparent and inclusive
    • Transparency and scrutiny
    • Inclusiveness
  • Auxiliary Submissions
  • Conclusion


https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/671953/Trade_White_Paper_response_FINAL.pdf (pdf)

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill Committee Stage

My previous report European Union (Withdrawal) Bill Committee Stage 1-3 covered the first three debates in the House of Commons during the Committee Stage of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. The next 5 debates were largely overshadowed with the “media excitement” generated by the possibility of the UK being allowed by the EU to discuss a future possible trading relationship between the UK and countries in the EU.

The debates were held

  • 4th sitting – 4th Dec 2017
  • 5th sitting – 6th Dec 2017
  • 6th sitting – 12th Dec 2017
  • 7th sitting – 13th Dec 2017
  • 8th sitting – 20th Dec 2017 (final)

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill was considered and amended in a Committee of the whole House which was completed on Wednesday 20 December 2017.

Details for all the debates can be found on Parliament’s web-site at:


More than 500 amendments were considered for debate and a number of votes were taken during the proceedings.

New Clauses and Amendments considered in Committee of the whole House (excel spreadsheet).

An amendment by the Government to add the actual date and time of withdrawal from the EU to the Bill was accepted after a vote. This is defined as 29 March 2019 at 11.00 p.m.

The Government were only defeated following a vote to accept a proposed amendment by Dominic Grieve. Clause 9 allows the Government to use statutory instruments to implement the withdrawal agreement. This amendment requires Parliament to approve the final terms of the withdrawal agreement before the Government can implement the withdrawal agreement.

A Minister of the Crown may by regulations make such provision as the Minister considers appropriate for the purposes of implementing the withdrawal agreement if the Minister considers that such provision should be in force on or before exit day, subject to the prior enactment of a statute by Parliament approving the final terms of withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

Details of all the Committee Stages is summarised in an interesting article at the Institute for Government

EU Withdrawal Bill: amendments and debates

All the changes made to the original Bill are shown in the following document:

Version of the bill showing changes made in committee (pdf)

What happens next?

MP’s will next consider the Bill at Third Reading and Report Stage, known collectively as remaining stages. This will take place on Tuesday 16 and Wednesday 17 January 2018.

EU Commission’s recommendation on negotiating directives

The EU Commission published 2 documents on the 20 December 2017 which sets out the EU approach (and demands) regarding phase 2 of the Brexit negotiations with the UK.

Following the guidelines adopted by the European Council (Art 50) on 15 December, the European Commission has today sent a Recommendation to the Council (Art 50) to begin discussions on the next phase of the orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. The draft negotiating directives, which supplement the negotiating directives from May 2017, set out additional details on possible transitional arrangements. In line with the European Council’s guidelines of 15 December, the General Affairs Council (Art 50) will adopt these additional negotiating directives on transitional arrangements in January 2018.

Recommendation for a COUNCIL DECISION supplementing the Council Decision of 22 May 2017 authorising the opening of negotiations with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for an agreement setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal from the European Union

Commission’s recommendation including supplementary negotiating directives (pdf)

ANNEX to the Recommendation for a COUNCIL DECISION supplementing the Council Decision of 22 May 2017 authorising the opening of negotiations with the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for an agreement setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal from the European Union

Annex – Supplementary negotiating directives (pdf)

PM Statement 18 December 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May gave a statement to Parliament on 18 December 2017 about the EU Council meeting held on 14-15 December 2017.

The statement covers topics on

  • Russia
  • Jerusalem
  • Migration
  • Education
  • Brexit Negotiations

On Brexit Negotiations, as far as I’m aware, this is the first time that the PM has formerly acknowledged that the bill for leaving the EU, demanded by the EU, is between £35 billion and £39 billion.

With permission, Mr Speaker, I would like to make a statement on last week’s European Council.

Before turning to the progress on our negotiations to leave the EU, let me briefly cover the discussions on Russia, Jerusalem, migration and education.

In each case the UK made a substantive contribution – both as a current member of the EU and in the spirit of the new, deep and special partnership we want to build with our European neighbours.


Mr Speaker, Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea was the first time since the Second World War that one sovereign nation has forcibly taken territory from another in Europe.

Since then human rights have worsened; Russia has fomented conflict in the Donbas and the peace process in Ukraine has stalled.

As I said at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet, the UK will do what is necessary to protect ourselves, and to work with our allies to do likewise – both now and after we have left the EU.

So we were at the forefront of the original call for EU sanctions. And at this Council we agreed to extend those sanctions for a further six months.


On Jerusalem, I made it clear that we disagree with the United States’ decision to move its embassy and recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital before a final status agreement. And like our EU partners, we will not be following suit.

But it is vital that we continue to work with the United States to encourage them to bring forward proposals that will reenergise the peace process.

And this must be based around support for a two state solution – and an acknowledgement that the final status of Jerusalem must be subject to negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.