Parliamentary Evidence Sessions
The APPG for Trade and Investment will hold 3 Parliamentary Evidence Sessions each year on topics which assist Parliamentarians contribute to debate. We hold an open call for evidence, and welcome written contributions. Following written evidence we hold a Parliamentary Evidence Session inviting contributors to present to MPs and Peers.
2022 Parliamentary Evidence Sessions:
Evidence Session 1 (April 2022) Review of Commonwealth Trade & Investment
‘Cutting trade costs, tackling the trade finance gap, boosting SME growth in the Commonwealth’
Commonwealth leaders committed themselves to the vision of increasing intra-Commonwealth trade to US$2 Trillion by 2030, and expanding intra-Commonwealth investment. Trade flows increase when there is a transparent and cooperative regulatory framework. While much of the Commonwealth shares a common legal framework, there remains significant variation in the regulatory quality and coherence across the members which can persistently block trade flows. ICC and Commonwealth studies have illustrated the economic benefits of aligning legal frameworks to the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Transferrable Records – 80% cut in trade costs, trillions in additional SME exports and growth, 50% cut in the trade finance gap, cuts in border compliance processing times from 25 to 1 day. The largest beneficiaries will be SMEs in emerging economies where trade costs are typically highest. For governments under fiscal pressure from Covid, this presents a unique, low cost opportunity to realise significant economic gain.
This evidence session is purposely scheduled ahead of both the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda, June 2022, and the Commonwealth Games in the United Kingdom, July 2022.
Evidence Session 2 (July 2022) Review UK Investment
Evidence Session 3 (November 2022) Review of UK Trade Skills
2021 Parliamentary Evidence Sessions
Evidence Session 1 (Jan 2021) Review of UK Trade Governance
Trade today impacts all walks of life. The 2018 Trade Model That Works For Everyone set out four principles of best practice: consensus building, transparency, democratic oversight, and net benefit for all. These four principles provide the foundations on which to build public trust in the trade system. Since 2018, the UK has made significant progress in establishing a governance structure and process in which to engage stakeholders outside of government. Whilst it is recognised that this is work in progress, it is believed that it is not yet on par with Chile, the EU, Mexico, New Zealand, or the US for example.
Evidence session 2 (Feb 2021) Review of UK Trade Strategy
As a major, outward facing trading nation, the United Kingdom requires a strategic framework for trade that reaches beyond free trade agreements to include all aspects of the international trade agenda; trade policy, trade promotion, investment and trade finance. Despite progress being made in building out trade relations, too often there is a lack of clarity on what the strategic framework is. As a result, trade can feel disconnected from other policy priorities where trade plays a vital role such as climate, environment, sustainability or industrial growth.
Evidence session 3 (Mar 2021) Review of UK Trade Finance
The global trade finance gap, short-term working capital to fund SME trade, has ballooned from $1.5 trillion to $3-5 trillion during the pandemic, with a £2 billion gap in the UK alone. This issue has been treated for too long as a niche banking and finance problem and as a result not been given the airtime it deserves because those most impacted are trading SMEs. The issue needs to be re-framed, placing SMEs at the centre of the discussion and looking at the issue through the lens of ensuring economic recovery is got right. If trade is to be at the heart of the recovery, then the working capital has to be available to SMEs to enable them to trade.
Evidence Session 4 (October 2021) Aligning Trade Rules to Meet Climate and Environment Goals
To meet our goals on net zero emissions and the environment will require unprecedented policy coherence. Trade should act as an enabler to achieving our global goals for protecting the environment and achieving net zero.
Internationally, over 40 governments including the UK are undertaking a review of trade agreements and how they align to global environment and climate objectives. However, this exercise will not cover 2-3,000 bilateral trade agreements negotiated at national level. This joint evidence session with the APPG on Environment will undertake to mirror global efforts to align frameworks and examine the friction points where UK bilateral trade rules conflict with, or hamper, our environmental and climate objectives.
Report to be published in November 2021.