Trade Bill 2020 - call for views

The Scottish Government’s Legislative Consent Memorandum

The UK Government introduced the Trade Bill, in the House of Commons on 19 March 2020 (“Trade Bill 2020”), in which it seeks to replace trade agreements the UK had as an EU Member State. The Bill seeks to give the UK Government powers to implement “rolled-over” trade agreements.

The Scottish Government lodged a Legislative Consent Memorandum (LCM) on the Bill on 18 August 2020.  The LCM sets out the Scottish Government’s views and recommendation on legislative consent. It also identifies areas of concern about the content and coverage of the Trade Bill 2020.

The LCM explains that the parts of the Bill which trigger the need for legislative consent are Part 1, aspects of Part 3 and schedules 1, 2 and 3. The remaining parts of the Bill do not themselves trigger the need for legislative consent. The Scottish Government advise that of particular relevance to devolved powers are:

  • Clause 1 – which provides a power for both UK and Scottish Ministers (within devolved competence) to make regulations to implement the Agreement on Government Procurement;
  • Clause 2 – which provides a power for both UK and Scottish Ministers (within devolved competence) to make regulations to implement qualifying international trade agreements;
  • Clause 9 – which provides that certain public authorities may disclose information for the purpose of facilitating the exercise by a Minister of the Crown of the Minister’s functions relating to trade;
  • Part 1 of the Bill also introduces schedules 1-3, which establish and constrain ‘devolved competence’ for the purpose of the exercise of those powers.

The LCM concludes that whilst the Scottish Government would wish to ensure that these points are addressed, the potential significant risk to business in Scotland of not consenting to the Bill is such that it recommends that the Scottish Parliament agree to such a motion.

The Finance and Constitution Committee call for views
The Finance and Constitution Committee is the lead Committee for scrutinising the Trade Bill 2020 and the associated LCM.  In order to inform the Committee’s scrutiny, the Committee is seeking views on the impact of the Trade Bill 2020 and its associated LCM.

In particular the Committee would be interested in hearing views with regard to the following areas—

  1. The appropriateness of the powers proposed in the Bill for UK Ministers and Scottish Ministers;
  2. The restrictions which the Bill seeks to apply to the powers of Scottish Ministers;
  3. The implications of the Bill’s provisions for:
    -the operability of the devolution settlement; 
    -any common frameworks that may be agreed between the Scottish and UK governments relating  to the repatriation of powers from the EU
  4. The necessity for and implications of the Bill’s provisions relating to implementing international trade agreements on Scottish policy making particularly in relation to mutual recognition, procurement, enforcement and compensation.
  5. The interaction between the provisions of the Trade Bill and those contained in the European Union Withdrawal Act, the EU Withdrawal Agreement Act, and the UK Government White Paper proposals for the UK Internal Market and UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Bill and the implications of any interaction for the devolution settlement.
  6. The proposals for a Trade Remedies Authority including its accountability and membership (and the need for knowledge of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland economies).
  7. Devolved and UK Parliamentary scrutiny, as well as wider public scrutiny, of the application of the provisions of the Bill to the ‘rolling over’ of current EU trade agreements’.
  8. The appropriateness of the disclosure of information provisions in the Bill.
  9. The need for, and duration of, the ‘sunset’ provisions in the Trade Bill.

Your response does not need to cover all of these areas and you can focus on those that are relevant to you or your organisation. Also, you are welcome to cover other areas in your submission that you think are relevant to the Committee’s consideration of the Bill and the associated LCM.

Providing your views

The closing date for receipt of submissions is Wednesday 9 September. Due to the time available for scrutiny, late submissions will only be accepted with the agreement of the clerk. If possible, we would be grateful if you could keep your submission to a maximum of 4 to 6 sides of A4. Please send your submission by email to: [email protected]. The Committee anticipates taking oral evidence at its meeting on the morning of Wednesday 16 September.

Please note that in most cases your written submission will be published on the Scottish Parliament's website and may be quoted in the Committee's report or in Committee meetings (which are in public and broadcasted).

If you wish to request that your submission be published without your name, please contact the clerks by emailing [email protected].

Before making a submission, please read our privacy notice about submitting your views to a committee. This tells you about how we process your personal data.

We welcome written views in English, Gaelic, Scots or any other language. The Scottish Parliament and its Committees value diversity and seek to work towards committee witnesses being broadly representative of Scotland’s society.  As such we encourage members of underrepresented groups to submit written evidence If you need advice, please contact the Clerks on [email protected].

Trade Justice Coalition Scotland (170KB PDF)

Law Society of Scotland (88.4 KB PDF)

Faculty of Advocates (67.8KB PDF)

If you have any questions relating to this call for views or the Committee’s scrutiny of the Bill and its associated LCM, please email [email protected].


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