Darren Jones MP asks the government about post-Brexit trade

Parts of the government’s argument for how they can make Brexit a success rely on changing the WTO rules. With this in mind, Darren wrote to the government and said the following:

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, with reference to the Prime Minister’s statement of 10 July 2017, Official Report, column 26, on the G20 summit, what rule changes he has requested from the WTO relating to the (a) services and (b) digital sector.

Mark Garnier MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary


As the Prime Minister and Department for International Trade ministers have set out, the UK is a founding member and active participant in the ongoing work of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This includes an active involvement in services and the digital sector, where we continue to advocate for services trade liberalisation and are encouraging members to restart negotiations on the ambitious Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA).

On the digital economy, we are working with other WTO Member States to achieve a positive outcome at the Ministerial Conference in December 2017. This includes working with developing and least developed countries as a core supporter of UNCTAD’s ‘eTrade for All’ initiative which seeks to improve the ability of developing countries to benefit from e-commerce.

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Darren asks the government about Brexit’s impact on Services and the digital sector

Darren wrote:

To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, what assessment he has made of the effect on the UK’s (a) services and (b) digital sector in the event that the UK leaves the EU and only operates as a member of the WTO in its trading relationship with the EU.

Robin Walker, the Parliamentary Under Secretary for Exiting The European Union, answered:

The UK Government is focused on getting the best possible deal with the EU to ensure that the Services and Digital sectors can continue to trade as freely as possible.

The Department for Exiting the European Union, working with officials across government, continues to undertake a wide range of analysis to support our negotiations. This is part of the government’s continued programme of rigorous and extensive analytical work on a range of scenarios.

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Darren challenges the Prime Minister on Brexit in Parliament


At the moment, if we get no deal with the EU after Brexit we will be subject to WTO rules when trading with them. The Prime Minister had answered concerns about this by saying we could reform these rules.

Darren asked:

I thank the Prime Minister for her statement and note her efforts to reform the World Trade Organisation rules in order that they keep up with the services and digital sectors, which are crucial to the British economy. Does she agree that any reform of the WTO rules will take longer than the time we have left before the UK crashes out of EU without a trade deal in 2019?

The Prime Minister replied:

One point of my comments at the G20 was that we need to speed up how the WTO considers these issues. Looking at the trade rules around the digital economy is not being started from scratch; the WTO has been doing it for some time. We just need to ensure that we get on with it and get those rules set.

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