UK trade negotiations: Scrutiny of Agreement with Australia – Report Summary

This is a House of Commons Committee report, with recommendations to government. The Government has two months to respond.

Author: International Trade Committee

Related inquiry: UK trade negotiations: Agreement with Australia

Date Published: 29 June 2022

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1. Following publication of the draft UK-Australia free trade agreement (FTA), we have worked hard to complete our extensive scrutiny of the UK’s first major new FTA but have been hindered by Government delays, including: failure to provide timely responses to Committee request; failure of a Minister to give timely evidence to the Committee; and failure to honour previous commitments. Consequently, we have been unable to conclude our report before the statutory period under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (CRaG) was commenced—though we are now working to complete it soon after seeing the Secretary of State on 29 June.

2. CRaG provides 21 sitting days for the House to consider FTAs (as detailed in Chapter 1). Under this process either Parliament or the Government can extend the statutory period for up to a further 21 days to enhance scrutiny and debate. We recommend that either Government or Parliament extends this period so as to be able to provide the appropriate level of scrutiny on the Australia FTA and to ensure that the procedure and process is followed for successive agreements.