On 6 December 2021, the International Trade Committee (a House of Commons Selected Committee) launched a new inquiry into the interplay between the UK’s approach to trade and its foreign policy objectives.
The inquiry will consider the extent to which the UK Government should advance its foreign policy strategy through trade agreements. It will also examine whether free trade agreements and broader trade policy can be used to promote human rights, the rules-based international order and democratic values as well as the role of a trade agreement in advancing British interests globally.
This new inquiry follows the publication of the Government’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy in March 2021. It will sit alongside the Committee’s existing work on relevant topics including UK trade negotiations and the UK-EU trading relationship.
As part of the new inquiry, the Committee has issued a public call for views from stakeholders on a wide range of issues including:
- The ways in which UK trade policy can be used to strengthen multilateral organisations and promote predictability in international relations.
- The extent to which the Government’s trade agreements can be used to bolster democracy, human rights and the development of free, fair, and transparent trade.
- The use of monitoring or enforcement mechanisms to assess a trading partner’s adherence to specific provisions in trade agreements.
- The relationship between the Department for International Trade and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in coordinating trade and foreign policy.
- The importance of balancing the Government’s foreign policy goals against benefits or concessions for UK businesses and consumers.
The Committee is seeking written evidence from the public by 11 February 2022 and a full list of questions can be found here. Should you be interested in submitting written evidence for the inquiry, please feel free to contact us.