The APPG for Trade & Export Promotion are working to promote an inclusive, sustainable approach to global trade involving all aspects of the trade agenda

Trade rules often date back decades, if not centuries in some cases. It shouldn’t be a surprise that these rules don’t always reflect our current challenges, particularly in relation to climate change, biodiversity and the environment all of which have grown immensely in significance and importance over recent years. We also live in an increasingly complex global policy landscape where national policies and laws need to respond to and help solve global challenges and where governments and Parliaments have an important role to play at both national and international level to scrutinise and monitor the implementation of law as well as review, reform and align laws to deliver coherent outcomes as part of the global community.

The APPG for Trade & Export Promotion was founded in September 2020

Nowhere is this more important than when acting to solve the climate crisis and deliver our ambition to be net zero by 2050. Trade has a critical role to play in helping deliver this goal and making sure that the trading environment is enabling this to happen, that our exports and investment are promoting green goods, services and technologies and that UK trade finance is incentivising and facilitating all of this to happen. We also need to ensure that the activities we support aren’t distorting the market in any way either here or overseas and that there is a level playing field for all so we don’t unintentionally incentivise bad practice to happen elsewhere to avoid the rules.

Tackling carbon ‘leakage’ is one good example where there needs to be coordination between trade and environment rules to stop companies shifting operations to other countries with less stringent rules to avoid complying. Similarly the need to align agriculture, trade and environment rules to ensure we are promoting sustainable ‘farm to fork’ strategies. The recent case of Italian bees getting stuck at the Irish border because they didn’t meet new trade rules coming into the UK is another good example. It transpired that queen bees can be imported but worker bees cannot which makes little sense when we have a biodiversity crisis.

As an All-Party Parliamentary Group, we can help this effort in several areas. Firstly in our most recent recommendations to government, we are calling for a strategic trade framework that clearly sets out how trade will help deliver net zero, how we will develop new green industrial capabilities that we can export to the rest of the world and ensure the UK is at the forefront on a race to the top on green jobs and international labour and environmental standards.

At the next evidence session we will be reviewing and scrutinising what the UK is doing in its trade deals to promote net zero and pressing for ambitious agreements that raise the bar, promote a level playing field and help support developing countries become climate resilient. We will also be seeking to ensure the UK is playing its full part at the World Trade Organization to support Costa Rica and others who are leading efforts to align global trade and climate rules.

We can solve the climate crisis if we work together and play our part in leading by example through our trade dialogues with the rest of the world.

Baroness Mobarik CBE

Vice Chair – The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Trade and Export Promotion

Web: www.appgtrade.uk

Twitter: @AppgTrade / @NosheenaMobarik

All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. This is not an official article of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees.

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