Trade Bill

Written evidence submitted by the Institute of Export & International Trade (TB08)

UK Trade Bill committee stage submission

1. Background

1.1 The Institute of Export & International Trade was established in 1936 to enhance the export performance of the UK by setting and maintaining professional standards in international trade. In recent times the Institute has further developed to help inform and support the UK in developing and implementing trade policies using the knowledge and insights from its community of over 3,000 businesses and professional members.

2. Overview

2.1 The Trade Bill is an important step in preparation for the conclusion of the transition period for the UK’s departure from the EU. The Bill should also be used as an opportunity to establish the overarching approach to reshaping of the UK economy in response to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

2.2 Although the Bill is primarily a technical document, we believe it provides an opportunity to formalise the UK’s principles and approach to international trade. We encourage the government to use The Trade Bill as a mechanism to establish a world leading, liberalised, digital-first approach to international trade.

3. Points for consideration

3.1 The Trade Bill creates an opportunity for the UK Government to enshrine its commitment to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

3.2 The UK should make an explicit commitment to a digital first approach to trade. A positive, immediate first step would be to remove the requirement for wet signatures on trade documentation.

3.3 In addition to the principles set out in "A Trade Model That Works For Everyone", the Institute suggests that the Trade Bill establishes a "room next door" approach to future UK trade negotiations.

3.4 The collection and dissemination of high quality, granular data is an essential tool to encourage the development of new products and services as well as informing policy. The Trade Bill could be usefully amended to empower HMRC to collect and make freely available data across all aspects of international trade.

4. Summary

4.1 The UK’s exit from the EU and the transformational impact of the Covid-19 pandemic create a unique opportunity for the UK government to energise a vigorous, world leading, liberalised, digital-first approach to international trade.

4.2 The Trade Bill offers a platform to establish defining approaches to digitisation of trade, collection and sharing of information and data, and transparency and participation in trade negotiations.

4.3 The Institute of Export & International Trade is a willing partner for government in furthering the agenda for a global Britain.

June 2020


Prepared 17th June 2020