Last reviewed 4 May 2021

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss has welcomed the Royal Assent being given to the Trade Act which, she said, allows the UK to put the agreements it strikes as a newly independent 21st-century trading nation on to the statute books.

This means, she went on, that the trade deals with 67 countries worth £218 billion already signed can become part of UK law permanently – and that British householders’ and businesses’ interests “can be put first in future agreements, for the first time in almost 50 years”.

The Act provides certainty vital for British firms to trade successfully overseas and means they will not face additional costs when doing so. It also contains measures designed to ensure future deals will not harm the UK’s consumer standards, workers’ rights or the NHS.

The Act will, Ms Truss said:

  • help protect UK businesses from unfair trading practices by establishing an independent Trade Remedies Authority (TRA)

  • uphold high food and environmental standards by placing the Independent Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) on a statutory footing

  • maintain access for UK businesses to public procurement opportunities worth approximately £1.3 trillion per year globally, through the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Agreement on Government Procurement (GPA)

  • enable the Government to collect data on exporters, providing an accurate view of exporting activity across the UK. This will help to provide targeted support for businesses to access new export opportunities.

“Our aim is to strengthen trading links with allies who share our belief in democracy, free enterprise and the rule of law, and to deepen ties with fast-growing economies of the future, positioning Britain where the future growth is and securing our place in a rapidly changing world,” Ms Truss said.

The full text of the Act can be found at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2021/10/pdfs/ukpga_20210010_en.pdf.