I understand there have been concerns regarding the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the UK and Canada. There have been a number of inaccuracies and mistruths in circulation and it is important that the facts are set straight.
CETA does not weaken EU environmental standards, nor hold back on climate change. CETA protects the rights of the parties to regulate and would not prevent either side from introducing new environmental or low carbon legislation in order to achieve environmental goals. It specifically prohibits parties from waiving or derogating environmental rules to encourage trade or investment.
The Investor Court System (ICS) protects investors, both large and small, from discriminatory or unfair treatment by a state. The UK Government, in developing an independent trade policy for when we leave the European Union, is looking at a variety of investor state dispute systems which will form the basis of the UK's own investor protection model. A dispute system will protect UK businesses trading in Canada as well as Canadian businesses trading in the UK. The UK has such provisions in over 90 agreements already in place between the UK and other countries, and there has never been a successful investor state dispute settlement against the UK, nor have potential claims affected the Government's legislative programme.
I know that the Government is absolutely committed to protecting the NHS. There is nothing in CETA that will put the NHS at risk. CETA specifically protects the Government's right to regulate and this includes the UK's public health sector. The NHS is protected by specific exemptions in all EU trade agreements, including CETA. As we leave the EU, the UK will continue to ensure that rigorous protections for the NHS are included in all trade agreements it is party to.
The Government has made it absolutely clear that Parliament will have a vital role to play in our future trade policy. The Department for International Trade's White Paper committed to ensuring scrutiny and engagement that is inclusive, meaningful and transparent. I look forward to scrutinising trade deals as they come before Parliament in the coming years