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Politicians should be involved in 'early stages' of trade deals

MHK keen to take opportunities from a 'global trade agenda'

Politicians should be involved at the ‘early stages’ of shaping trade deals.

That’s the view of South Douglas MHK Claire Christian who has attended a workshop organised via the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

She says the Westminster opportunity provided ‘insight and understanding’ around trade deals following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

Ms Christian said: “This transition, however, has not been without problems or criticism, notably over limited parliamentary oversight and what many have seen as inadequate consultation with Crown Dependencies, Overseas Territories and Devolved Legislatures.

“The event was therefore about bringing together members and officials from parliaments to learn from each other and improve.”

Delegates met with ex-trade negotiators and specialists, committee experts and representatives of national and international organisations.

Ms Christian continued: “I observed a general consensus among delegates that there was plenty of executive involvement in trade deals but not legislative.  

“Politicians need to be involved at the early stages in shaping the initial offer of all trade deals.  

“Positive change can be achieved by closer working relationships with each other and with the UK trade scrutiny committee who hold UK government to account.

“Successful trade jurisdictions have also appointed parliamentarian trade envoys whose jobs is to engage with prospective markets where substantial trade and investment opportunities have been identified.  

“The chief minister’s visit to South Africa last year is an example of this.”

She also believes that due to the ‘prohibitive cost of transport’ the Island should continue concentrating on financial services, supporting the digital infrastructure and optimising digital connectivity.

Ms Christian added: “Leveraging digital and intra-Commonwealth trade are ways we can achieve economic growth, build existing relations and help Isle of Man businesses to take advantage of opportunities arising from a global trade agenda.

“Essentially, what this would mean for the island is good trade deals and creating more jobs while protecting local interests, something that the economic strategy is striving for.”

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