Insights House of Commons Select Committee of Public Accounts publishes report on progress with trade negotiations

In the report, the Public Accounts Committee says that “there is no guarantee” that the new international trade agreements being negotiated by the Department for International Trade “will deliver actual economic benefits”. It says the DIT remains opaque and secretive about the deals it is negotiating, publishing its own impact assessments of new trade deals prior to implementation but not setting any associated targets or providing the information to Parliament and the public to allow them to assess the practical, real-world impact of the new deals, or if the interests of businesses and the public are actually being served.

The report finds that the DIT will struggle to meet its target for 80% of UK trade to be covered by free trade agreements by the end of 2022.

The Committee casts further doubt on the benefits that might actually be realised in the new trade deals unless DIT “provides vital support to help businesses use the agreements, particularly for smaller businesses wanting to export worldwide”.

The report states that the DIT must “ensure that its approach to trade has coherence and that there is sufficient clarity about how government is making trade-offs across different policy areas, such as agriculture, the environment and human rights”. To access the Report, click here.