(Image source: UK Parliament)
New secretary of state for international trade, Kemi Badenoch, has written to Angus Brendan MacNeil, Chair of International Trade Committee, laying out her intention to build a “strong and constructive working relationship” with the committee.
Badenoch says she is fully committed to supporting the committee in its “vital scrutiny work”.
For all future Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), Badenoch promises a period of at least 10 sitting days between publication of the Section 42 reports and the start of treaty scrutiny under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act (CRaG).
In her letter Badenoch also confirms that her office will, within two weeks of signature of a new FTA, offer dates for a DIT minister to meet and that they will not lay an FTA for the purposes of CRaG before those dates.
As a further indication that her department will take the role of committee more seriously, Badenoch says that, starting with the UK/New Zealand FTA announced earlier this year, she will share a timeline for ratification for each FTA once it has been agreed with FCDO.
Grace Thompson, public affairs adviser at the Institute of Exports and International Trade, says the letter marks a positive start for Badenoch’s tenure at DIT.
She told the IOE&IT Daily Update:
“Twice in the letter she describes the scrutiny work as ‘vital’. This matters, because this detailed scrutiny work can make an enormous difference to how treaties end up working in practice for traders and exporters.”