Y Pwyllgor Materion Allanol a Deddfwriaeth Ychwanegol

External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee

11/01/2021

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Alun Davies MS
Dai Lloyd MS
David J. Rowlands MS
David Rees MS Cadeirydd y Pwyllgor
Committee Chair
Huw Irranca-Davies MS
Laura Anne Jones MS

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Ed Sherriff Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government
Jeremy Miles MS Y Cwnsler Cyffredinol a’r Gweinidog Pontio Ewropeaidd
Counsel General and Minister for European Transition
Sophie Brighouse Llywodraeth Cymru
Welsh Government

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Aled Evans Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Alun Davidson Clerc
Clerk
Claire Fiddes Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Lucy Valsamidis Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Nia Moss Ymchwilydd
Researcher
Rhun Davies Ymchwilydd
Researcher

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Cyfarfu'r pwyllgor drwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 14:00.

The committee met by video-conference.

The meeting began at 14:00.

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Good afternoon, and can I welcome members of the public and Members to this afternoon's meeting of the External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee? And can I remind Members that we are operating in a virtual mode these days due to the COVID situation? In accordance with Standing Order 34.19, as Chair, I've determined the public will be excluded from the committee's meeting in order to protect public health, but they are able to view the meeting and proceedings on www.senedd.tv, and that will be available both in English and in Welsh. In the event I lose my connection today, we have already agreed that Alun Davies will be acting as temporary Chair of the committee until either I come back in to the committee or the meeting ends, whichever is first to occur. At this point would any Members wish to declare an interest in relation to today's meeting? Huw.

Chair, just my standard declarations of the three committees that I chair with a European interest.

Thank you. Anyone else? No. Thank you for that. I'm glad to see everyone here today, and can I wish you all a happy new year? It's the first time I've had a chance to meet you. And can I wish a happy a new year to our witnesses as well? And let's hope for a more successful and fruitful year ahead of us than the one we've faced in the last 12 months, which has been very difficult for many people.

2. Sesiwn graffu gyda’r Cwnsler Cyffredinol a’r Gweinidog Pontio Ewropeaidd
2. Scrutiny session with the Counsel General and Minister for European Transition

Can I go on to item 2 on the agenda, therefore, which is a scrutiny session with the Counsel General and Minister for European Transition? And can I welcome Jeremy Miles to this afternoon's meeting? And with him are Ed Sherriff, deputy director, European transition negotiations for the Welsh Government, and Sophie Brighouse, who's deputy director, European transition policy in the Welsh Government. Welcome, all, to this afternoon's meeting.

Clearly, events have been quite eventful, shall we say, since we last met over Christmas, with the agreement being reached prior to Christmas on Christmas eve, and the Bill being passed in the House of Commons and the House of Lords before the new year. So, we're now in a situation where transition has ended and we are in the operation of a provisional, I understand, agreement, because, clearly, it has to be ratified by the European Members as well as the UK Government. But, with that in mind, we'd like to go straight into questions and, obviously, Counsel General, some of our questions will be focused very much upon the agreement, the implications of the agreement, particularly for Wales, and issues around that which we have been considering for quite a while. I'm going to hand over to Laura first to start off the questioning. Laura.

Thank you, Chair. Yes. Hi, Minister. Happy new year, and happy new year all of you—a year we start out of the EU. Boris delivered—a move that I personally very much welcome. Minister, I'd just like to ask you whether you could confirm whether the Welsh Government and yourself have completed the analysis now of the trade and co-operation agreement and associated agreements between the EU and the UK.

Happy new year to you as well. I think we would all like to be in a position, two weeks into the new relationship, to be able to say that we had been given the opportunity to analyse and complete in detail an analysis of the new relationship, but because the agreement was reached so late in the day that, obviously, hasn't been possible. So, the analysis of the trade and co-operation agreement is still under way. There are aspects of it, obviously, which are very complex, which need to be evaluated very carefully. So, if you were to take the rules-of-origin issue—just one issue, really—the rules on that on its own are extremely complex. So, we're talking to officials in both the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to better understand the intent and impact of some of those very complex areas. And there are, obviously, other areas of the agreement where it is itself vague, really. So, there are some aspects of governance, for example, some aspects of participation in parts of the programmes, where it isn't entirely clear what is intended for the future. So, there's a piece of work to be undertaken to better understand what they amount to as well. So, 'the work is under way' is the short answer to your question.

Thank you, Minister. When would you expect that to be completed? Have you a ball park, rough idea, for when you think?

Yes. My hope, at least, is that it will be completed by the end of this month, so that it then gives us a fairly full understanding, I hope, of what the agreement does. And I think to be honest, though, there are still areas that even then I think we will be only capable, really, of properly understanding them when they've been tested either in the courts or through the governance mechanisms. But, certainly, our objective is to get an analysis completed at our end, if you like, by the end of the month.

14:05

Great. Thank you. And Minister, will you be publishing those results to inform Members and, of course, stakeholders in Wales?

Yes. I think probably a realistic timetable for that is at some point in this half term, if you like. So, that takes us to mid February, doesn't it, really. So, I hope to be able to publish something within that time frame, which will then, hopefully, be a useful document for people to engage with.

Okay, thank you, Minister. I'm just wondering if you could share with us areas where the agreement you believe delivers on the Welsh Government's negotiation priorities and where you see that the negotiation priorities were not included.

Okay. Well, there are, sadly, more in the debit ledger than there are in the credit side of the ledger, unfortunately, when it comes to that. But, looking at the positive side first, then, obviously it delivers a tariff-free and quota-free access, which was very high on the list of our priorities. There are some programmes in which the UK will participate—so, Horizon is an example of that. The reciprocal health arrangements and some aspects of social welfare reciprocity are things that we obviously welcome. The embedding of the Northern Ireland protocol obviously is very good, both for the peace on the island of Ireland but also to ensure that there's a regulatory environment in place. And I think also the commitment to non-regression on the part of the UK from standards in relation to environment and labour market standards in particular—we certainly welcome that. But, you know, the truth of the matter is, even with those positives, all these restrictions, the whole body of restrictions and obstacles that the agreement introduces, are fresh obstacles, if you like. So, on 31 December you had a situation where none of those obstacles were in place.

In the debit side of the ledger, clearly, we welcome that it's a tariff-free and quota-free deal, but, if you were to look at the non-tariff barriers, they are significant. So, the rules of origin, which I just identified earlier, the rules on those are much more restrictive than they previously were. There's a lack of mutual recognition of conformity assessment, where standards in one market can be assessed in another. The chemicals industry, which is a very, very significant UK export, as you will know, no longer has access to REACH, which is the chemicals database. So, all of those are new barriers to trade.

If you're operating in the services sector, it's a pretty bleak picture, now needing to conform in many ways with 27 sets of rules, rather than one set of rules. The agreement doesn't deliver the mutual recognition of professional qualifications, so, again, that requires a range of bilateral arrangements. That's a very significant impediment. Obviously, it doesn't do anything to improve the situation with regard to the movement of people across Europe. And I think, from a security point of view, as an area that hasn't had perhaps as much focus as it might have had, not participating in the Schengen Information System II, which was a very well-used resource, not having access to the European arrest warrant—. All of those items, even at first blush, really, are in the debit side of the ledger, I'm afraid. So, we would have hoped for a very different kind of agreement, obviously.

So, Minister, have sector-specific impact assessments been made on the effects of any gaps that have been completed and whether you'll publish those?

Well, as I say, it's two weeks in, isn't it? So, we will be looking at the impact of the agreement on the economy as a whole, and then that'll be published, as I say, hopefully in the first half term.

Thank you very much. I was interested, Minister, that, in response to Laura Jones, you mentioned the Northern Irish protocol and the debate that's been around that. I've been quite struck by how hard the border is now between the island of Great Britain and the island of Ireland, and there seems now to be a very hard border down the Irish Sea, and certainly that is what we're hearing from Northern Irish businesses. And the issues around suppliers and food suppliers and the rest of it into Northern Ireland do seem to be quite difficult. I was wondering if you were going to undertake any assessment of what that means for Wales—and it could mean economically for Wales, of course, but also in terms of our relationship with Northern Ireland, and how that will affect relationships within the United Kingdom. I know Huw Irranca-Davies is going to maintain his close interest in common frameworks later in this session, so I don't think we need to go into that area of it, but, in a more general approach, how do you think a very hard border in the Irish Sea is going to affect us in years to come?

14:10

Well, the answer to your question is, 'Yes, that will be part of the analysis.' As you will remember, for some months, I was having to come to the committee to say that we had raised a number of concerns about the impact on trade, for example, through Holyhead, but other trade routes as well, of the protocol and the lack of clarity at that point about what the protocol entailed. Obviously, we now have more clarity and the border operating model as well—there's clarity around that space as well. But I think what we will need to do is understand in detail now, as part of our analysis, what that means for businesses in Wales. You will have seen the reporting in the media over the last few days about concerns in Northern Ireland about the impact on exporter or transit readiness, if you like, for people transiting into Northern Ireland freight from different parts of Great Britain, and the set of anxieties there about impacts on their supplies and markets of those arrangements. So, one would expect, obviously, that that will diminish, and one hopes, obviously, very rapidly diminish, but, plainly, all these new restrictions and requirements for export and transit add to a fresh set of burdens on businesses and exporters and, obviously, concerns at this stage, at least, in Northern Ireland itself. 

Good afternoon, Minister. Can I begin—and I'm sorry for springing this on you a little bit—by picking up on a story that emerged over the weekend? It's an area that I know Alun and I, but others, will have an interest in, because of our previous experience of European Council with agriculture issues. It's to do with neonicotinoids. Now, for most people, they'll go, 'What? What on earth are these?' But there is an EU-wide prohibition on the use of neonics for very good reasons, not least because—and I'm with the World Health Organization here, in their report that shows, from 2019, that there's a growing body of evidence that suggests this is a significant contributory factor to the loss of biodiversity through pollinators. We've just come out of the EU, we've finished the transition period, we're 10 days beyond, and the UK Government has decided that there will now be urgent temporary use of neonics for sugar beet and some other specified areas. What does this say about our current relationship? Were we consulted? What does it mean for Wales?

Well, the point that you make, Huw, goes to the heart of a number of the concerns that we've had—a number of us have had—in this process, which is that the instinct to deregulate, if you like, will take precedence, at the UK Government end, over the sensible commitments that we've been able to hold to during our membership of the European Union and during the transition period. And I think the example that you give is very germane, if I can use that word, because biodiversity knows no boundary, really. So, it's one of those areas where the diminution of biodiversity in any part of the UK has an impact on all parts of the UK, and that's why, actually, maintaining commitments to high standards across the board is so important. It isn't capable, in that sense, of being looked at in an England-only way; it'll have an impact across all parts of the UK. This actually plays into the discussion we've had before in relation to the internal market Bill. It's not quite in the same space, but there are similar sets of considerations around that.

14:15

Thank you, Minister. I won't push you any further on this. I'll pursue it with your fellow Ministers during the course of the week to see what ability Wales has to actually dig its heels in on this and make sure that there isn't any either cross-contamination or that it doesn't trespass on devolved powers. I'll leave that there, but thank you for that answer.

Could I turn to what your current assessment is of the provisions in the future relationship agreement relating to trading goods and the impact on businesses in Wales?

There's a new suite of requirements, obviously, in the relationship as a consequence of the negotiations. So, whether they're customs procedures, non-tariff barriers, rules of origin—all of those, I think, will have a significant potential impact on the production, manufacture and export of goods, including advanced manufacturing, which is, obviously, a very important sector for us in Wales. So, what I think that might mean in practice is risk to supply chains in terms of disruption at the borders. There'll obviously be additional costs to businesses from having to comply with two sets of approvals for their products, effectively, because of the absence of mutual recognition for some of them.

There is a failure in the deal, unfortunately, to secure what's known as diagonal cumulation. It relates to rules of origin where you can use components from third countries, for example, in your product and they can be qualified within the deal. That isn't a feature, in the sense that we would wish to see, in the trade agreement. There is bilateral cumulation, but it doesn't allow the same generosity for including components from third countries, so that will have an impact, as well. If you're an exporter from the European Union, outside the EU, you will be incentivised to include components manufactured within the EU rather than manufactured in the UK. So, there's a whole set of ways in which supply chains and the complex manufacturing processes that the Welsh economy benefits from will potentially be impacted. I think the macro picture from that is an additional set of challenges for inward investment into Wales as a consequence of these new burdens.

I think there are specific, if I can use this term, distributional impacts within the economy. So, if you're a large company operating in Wales, some of these complex issues around rules of origin are likely to be ones that you're more familiar with handling, if you like. If you're a small or medium-sized enterprise—obviously, the Welsh economy has a high proportion of SMEs—then auditing these quite complex rules and certifications will be more challenging. I think the burden will not fall equally, if you like, on all parts of the economy, so that's a concern for us, as well.

That helpfully leads on there to my next question, which is to do with the assessment that you've done on individual sectors. Because, as you say, it seems like this is certainly not going to decrease the amount of complexity. Business is a complex environment, import and export is a complex area, but this certainly seems to have at least added to the complexity, and there will be real differentials in different sectors. So, what do you understand about the sectors that are most impacted? What discussions have you had with those sectors in respect of things like additional support certain sectors might need, even down to things such as additional law enforcement and making sure that the regulations are complied with? What can you tell us about—we're only a few days in, I know—where it's falling with most difficulty on different sectors?

I think the Ministers probably leading on the detail of that at the moment are going to be the Minister and Deputy Minister for the economy and transport on the one hand, and then the Minister for the environment on the other, because it's stakeholders and sectors in their areas who are going to be most adversely impacted. They have, obviously, an ongoing set of discussions with businesses and exporters in their sectors to understand together what the implications are for them.

What we have said in terms of support for sectors, if you like—and I've made this point myself in, I think, two meetings in the last couple of weeks since the deal was published—is that there is going to need to be, I would suggest, a UK-wide package of economic support, really, to help businesses manage a period of adjustment, if you like, if I can use a neutral term. And there will need to be, I think, a UK-wide intervention to support the economy in that period. Obviously, plainly, we are not simply dealing with the impact of transition, are we? We're also dealing at the same time with the impact of COVID. So, I think there needs to be a UK-wide intervention to support businesses through what is going to be quite a difficult period. 

14:20

That's quite helpful. So, your call, if there is sectoral support needed, is not for that to come by default from the limited financial resources within Wales, but actually for sectoral support at a UK level to make sure that those businesses are helped. 

Yes. Certainly, this needs to be a UK-wide, macro view, effectively. The entirety of the UK economy will be affected. Obviously, different parts of the UK will be differently affected, but I think it's a UK-wide set of interventions that are needed here.

Thank you, Huw. Before I move on to the next set of questions, Minister, you've just mentioned that the Minister for the environment and the Minister for economy and Deputy Minister for economy will probably be looking at their own portfolios, really, with respect to that. Are you taking an overarching, co-ordinating role to ensure that they feed back to you and you're able to be sure there's cross-pollination, in a sense, across the different departments?

Well, I chair the Cabinet sub-committee on European transition and trade, Chair. We meet on Wednesday of this week, and that is a forum in which we bring together the impacts that are happening in all the different portfolios so that there is a global, cross-Government understanding of the cumulative impacts of the negotiations, but now of the new deal, really. So we have that forum that brings all these issues together in one place for us as a Cabinet sub-committee to have oversight of that. 

Okay. Thank you for that. I'll move on now to Dai. 

Diolch yn fawr, Gadeirydd. Prynhawn da, Weinidog. I barhau efo'r drafodaeth yma ynglŷn â'r cytundeb newydd—a dwi'n sylweddoli ein bod ni'n gynnar ym mis Ionawr, ond mae'r cwestiynau yn dal yn ddilys ar y berthynas yma rhwng y Deyrnas Unedig a'r Undeb Ewropeaidd ymlaen i'r dyfodol nawr. Ble awn ni yn y lle cyntaf? Wel, yn y gorffennol, mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi galw am iddi gael cymryd rhan lle mae yna anghydfod yn ymwneud â meysydd datganoledig rydyn ni'n ymdrin â nhw—lle mae yna ryw fath o anghydfod. Ydych chi wedi cael unrhyw sicrwydd gan Lywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig sut y bydd ymdopi ag unrhyw anghydfod mewn unrhyw faes datganoledig? Hynny yw, a fydd cyd-drafod rhwng y ddwy Lywodraeth, ynteu a ydyn ni'n gorfod derbyn beth sy'n dod lawr y lein o San Steffan?

Thank you very much, Chair. Good afternoon, Minister. If I could continue with this discussion on the new agreement—and I do understand that we're early in January here, but the questions are still pertinent in terms of the relationship between the UK and the EU, going into the future. Where shall we start? Well, previously, the Welsh Government has called for its involvement in disputes that engage devolved areas—where there is such a dispute. Now, have you been given any assurances from the UK Government as to how any disputes will be dealt with in any devolved areas? Will there be discussion and negotiation between the two Governments, or do we just have to accept what comes down the line from Westminster?

Wel, dydyn ni ddim eto wedi cael y sicrwydd rydyn ni eisiau ei gael, ond os ydych chi'n sôn am anghydfod yng nghyd-destun y WTO, er enghraifft, mae hi ychydig yn gynnar eto i edrych ar impact penodol y cytundeb ar hwnnw. Ond dydyn ni ddim wedi cael eglurder hyd yma ar hynny yn gyffredinol. 

Well, we haven't yet had the assurances that we would want, but if you were looking at disputes in terms of WTO, for example, then it's a little early to look at the particular impact of the agreement in that area. But we've received no clarity on that in general terms as of yet. 

Ac ar gefn hynna, mater sydd ychydig bach, hefyd, yn dechnegol ynglŷn â'r cytundeb—achos mae'r cytundeb newydd yma'n darparu ar gyfer mesurau trawsddial ac ailgydbwyso ar draws gwahanol rannau. Ac yn hynny o beth, mae Cymru yn dibynnu'n fawr ar ymlyniad y Deyrnas Unedig i'r cytundeb cyfan. A ydych chi wedi cael amser i amlinellu unrhyw asesiad ar eich rhan chi fel Llywodraeth Cymru ar sut bydd hynny'n gweithio maes o law? 

And in addition to that, this again is a slightly technical issue regarding the agreement—because it provide for cross-retaliation and rebalancing measures across its different parts. And, as such, Wales is heavily reliant on the UK's adherence to the whole agreement. Now, have you had time to make any assessment as a Welsh Government as to how that will work? 

Wel, mae hynny'n rhan o'r dadansoddiad rydyn ni'n ei wneud ar hyn o bryd. Beth fyddwn i'n ei ddweud yn gyffredinol am hynny yw ei bod hi'n syndod, ar un lefel, fod y mecanwaith ailgydbwyso yma yn y cytundeb—hynny yw, ei bod hi ar gael i'w defnyddio, fel petai, yn erbyn Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig os nad yw'r Llywodraeth yn cadw i fyny â'r rheoliadau sy'n digwydd o fewn yr Undeb Ewropeaidd. Dyna a ddywedwyd oedd prif nod y cytundeb: caniatáu i'r Llywodraeth yn San Steffan allu rheoleiddio fel roedden nhw eisiau ei wneud. Ond eto, mae'r mecanwaith yma yn y cytundeb sy'n creu remedi os ydy'r gap yn ehangu yn rhy bell. Felly, beth yn union yw pwrpas mynd am y math yna o berthynas, os ydy'r mecanwaith hynny gyda chi, dwi ddim yn gwbl sicr.

Well, that's part of the analysis that we're currently carrying out. What I would say in general terms on that issue is that it is surprising on one level that the rebalancing mechanism is in the agreement and that it's available for use against the UK Government if that Government doesn't keep up with regulations made within the European Union. That, apparently, was the main aim of the agreement: to allow the Government in Westminster to regulate as they chose or saw fit. But, again, we have this mechanism in the agreement that creates a remedy if the gap expands too much. So, what exactly the purpose of going for that kind of relationship is, if you have that mechanism in place, I'm not entirely sure.

14:25

Diolch am hynna. Yn naturiol, roedden ni i gyd yn gwrando ar eich trafodaeth efo Huw Irranca ar neonicotinoidau yn gynharach, felly efallai y bydd hynna yn berthnasol i'r drafodaeth yna. Hefyd, o'r blaen, rydych chi fel Llywodraeth wedi gweld tystiolaeth bod busnesau o Gymru yn colli contractau i gystadleuwyr yn y 27 gwlad arall sydd ar ôl yn yr Undeb Ewropeaidd. Ydych chi'n dal i gael gwybodaeth am gwmnïau Cymru yn colli allan, a beth yw'r diweddaraf ar gyflwr hynna? Eto, dwi'n sylweddoli ein bod ni yn yr ail wythnos o hyn.

Thank you for that. Naturally, we all listened to the discussion with Huw Irranca on neonicotinoids earlier, and that could be pertinent to that particular discussion. Now, previously, you as a Government have stated that there's already been evidence of Welsh businesses losing out contracts to competitors based in the EU 27 countries. Are you still receiving such information about Welsh businesses losing out, and could you give us an update in that area? Again, I do understand that we're only in the second week of this.

Mi gawson ni, cyn diwedd y cyfnod pontio, arwyddion cyfrinachol fasnachol bod impact ar bobl oedd yn cyflenwi components—darnau o gynnyrch eraill—eu bod nhw'n colli allan i gwmnïau yn yr Undeb Ewropeaidd oherwydd, bryd hynny, ansicrwydd ynglŷn â'r trefniadau a'r cytundeb fyddai'n rheoli'r berthynas yn y dyfodol. Dwi'n credu mai'r gwir amdani yw ei bod hi jest yn rhy gynnar nawr i wybod os yw'r sefyllfa yna wedi newid. Ond wrth gwrs, mae risg o hynny, a dŷn ni'n cadw'n ymwybodol o hynny, ond dwi'n credu ei bod hi ychydig yn gynnar i wybod eto.

Before the end of the transition period, we did see some clear signals that were commercial in confidence that there was an impact on those supplying components, and that they were losing out to EU 27 firms, because, at the time, uncertainty as to what the arrangements would be and what kind of agreement would manage relationships in the future. I think the truth of the matter is that it's simply too early at this stage to know whether that situation has changed. But of course, there is a risk of that and we are highly aware of it, but I think it is a little early to say as of yet. 

Diolch yn fawr am hynna. Y cwestiwn olaf gen i yn yr adran yma ydy: yn naturiol, bydd y cytundeb yma yn cael ei adolygu, felly pa sicrwydd sydd o fewnbwn gyda chi fel Llywodraeth Cymru i'r adolygiad yna? Ydych chi wedi derbyn unrhyw sicrwydd? Achos wrth gwrs, fel rydych chi eich hunan wedi crybwyll o'r blaen, digon tenau oedd eich gallu chi fel Llywodraeth—ac nid bai arnoch chi, nawr, ond bai o'r ochr arall—i gael mewnbwn i'r cytundeb yma yn y lle cyntaf. Felly pa obaith sydd am fewnbwn gwirioneddol gyda chi fel Llywodraeth Cymru am ein pryderon ni o Gymru am y cytundeb yma wrth symud ymlaen?

Thank you. One final question from me in this section. Naturally, this agreement will be reviewed, so what assurances are there of an input from you as Welsh Government in those reviews? Have you received any assurances? Because as you yourself have mentioned in the past, your abilities as Government—and this wasn't your fault, by any means—but you didn't get much input into this agreement in the first place. So, what hope is there that you will have meaningful input as Welsh Government in terms of expressing our concerns as we review this agreement in moving forward?

Mae'r strwythur rheoleiddio yn cael ei greu yn y cytundeb, a'r strwythur sy'n llywodraethu hynny hefyd, ac mae pwyllgor partneriaeth ac amryw o grwpiau gwaith ac is-bwyllgorau sydd yn strwythur ac yn rheoli'r maes yn gyffredinol. Dŷn ni ddim eto wedi cael sicrwydd o beth yn union fyddwn yn gallu ei wneud i gael dylanwad yn y trefniadau hynny, ond wrth gwrs, o'n safbwynt ni fel Llywodraeth, mae angen bod trefniadau ar waith i sicrhau hynny. Mae hynny'n rhan o'r gwaith rŷn ni wedi bod yn ei wneud yn yr adolygiad o berthnasau rhynglywodraethol. Mae angen mapio beth rŷn ni'n gweld yn y cytundeb ar y gwaith hynny oedd yn digwydd beth bynnag, a sicrhau ein bod ni'n cael ein llais yn y trefniadau hynny, wrth gwrs. Mae mwy nag un Aelod o'r pwyllgor wedi bod yn ymwneud yn y gorffennol gyda'r trefniadau oedd ar waith yn ystod ein cyfnod ni fel aelod o'r Undeb Ewropeaidd, lle roedd e'n fater arferol bod y pedair gwlad yn cael trafodaethau rhyngddyn nhw ynglŷn â'u hagwedd tuag at ddatblygiadau ar y pryd yng ngweddill yr Undeb Ewropeaidd, a dwi ddim yn gweld unrhyw reswm pam na ddylai hynny barhau yn y berthynas rhwng Prydain a'r Undeb Ewropeaidd yn y dyfodol—bod gyda ni lais fel Llywodraeth yn y penderfyniadau a'r trefniadau hynny. Ond heddiw, dwi ddim yn gallu rhoi sicrwydd ichi o beth yn union fydd y berthynas honno.

The regulatory structure is created within the agreement, and the structure governing that is set out too, and there is a partnership committee and a number of sub-committees and working groups, which does provide a structure in this area. We haven't yet received assurances as to what exactly we will be able to do to have an influence on those arrangements, but of course, from our perspective as a Government, arrangements need to be in place to ensure that does happen. That's part of the work that we have been undertaking as part of the review of inter-governmental relations. We need to map out what we see in the agreement on that work, which was ongoing previously, and ensure that our voice is heard in these arrangements. More than one committee Member has been involved in the past with the arrangements that were in place during our time as Members of the European Union, where it was a matter of course that the four nations would have negotiations on its stance on developments in the wider European Union. I see no reason why that shouldn't continue in terms of the relationship between the UK and the EU in future—that we should have the same voice as a Government in those arrangements. But today, I can't give you any assurances as to what that relationship will look like.

Before we move on, just to confirm, Minister, there is a structure, but there are no assurances that the structure will allow the Welsh voice to be heard at this point in time. Is that right?

The agreement doesn't include—but perhaps you wouldn't expect it to, in the sense that it's an agreement between the UK itself and the European Union—. The agreement doesn't regulate the involvement of the devolved Governments in the partnership committee structure into the future. But the point I was making in passing to Dai Lloyd was that the nature of inter-governmental relations in general, clearly, has been the subject of a review for some time, as obviously the committee knows very well. The task now is to map the new structures that the agreement brings into being on the work of that review, so we can make sure that the mechanisms we have enable us to have a voice in the way that partnership committee and its various sub-committees and working groups operate into the future. 

14:30

And what—? I suppose, in a sense, how much confidence do you have that that will be achieved, based upon past evidence of the lack of involvement, and the lack of discussions with the devolved administrations?

I think one needs to unpack that a little bit, Chair, if I can suggest. So, obviously in the context of European Union negotiations for the end of transition, plainly, our position on that is that we haven't had adequate involvement at all. But there are other examples where we have had much better involvement, where the UK has been negotiating with, if you like, a third country. So, there are examples we've discussed in this committee before of better involvement we've had in trade negotiations, for example. So, in a sense, it depends on which of those routes we are able to persuade the UK Government to take. Obviously, from our point of view, we would expect the people of Wales's elected Government in relation to devolved matters to have a significant voice in the deliberations of the UK in those committees, and that's exactly what we'll be pressing for. 

Okay, but, just for clarification again, on the issue of international trade, you said there'd been better involvement. If I'm right, the concordat has still not been agreed and signed, has it? So that doesn't exist at this point.

No, the concordat has not been agreed and signed, you're quite right about that. But I think the substantive output of the discussions between the devolved Governments and the UK Government in the space of trade negotiations with third countries does demonstrate, if you like, certainly more involvement and, I would suggest, more impact as well.

And would you expect such involvement—because you mentioned that there are still areas that have got to be negotiated, at the moment, with 27 separate nations, such as mutual recognition of qualifications, as a simple example—would you expect involvement from the UK Government in those types of discussions, which are still to be added on to this agreement?

Those are the things we've been pressing for throughout, Chair. The example you give there in terms of qualifications is a very good example—that's exactly the kind of area where we wanted more ambition, if you like, and we haven't seen the agreement reach the end point that we would like. So, certainly we will continue to make our case in relation to that.

And at this point in time, you've not been given any indication of any change by the UK Government on your involvement.

Sorry, I'm not quite sure I understand the question, Chair. 

I suppose the question is—you haven't previously had that engagement in the UK negotiations. Have you been given assurance by the UK Government that you will be more involved in the continuation of some of those points in relation to Europe?

I think UK Government would regard their engagement with us as being involved. Obviously, we don't agree with that, but they would take that view, I think. It may help to think of it in terms of structures. It has been agreed that the JMC(EN) will continue in its current format, if you like, until whatever new arrangements can be put in place are put in place, so that there isn't a lack of continuity, if you like, or a lack of a forum in which these things can be discussed. But obviously the committee will be well aware of our reservations about the effectiveness of the JMC(EN) in delivering what we wished. 

Thank you. I'll move on now to some questions now from David Rowlands. David.

Good afternoon, Minister. Minister, can we explore just a little further the impact of implementing the future relationship agreement on trade in general? So, could you confirm whether you have been made aware of any specific issues that have arisen from Welsh businesses that are now trading under the terms of the future relationship agreement? How will the Welsh Government monitor this going forward?

There's a set of stakeholder fora that the Minister for the economy convenes with a range of sectors to discuss—and this has been a consistent feature of the Brexit period, if you like—the sorts of things that have been raised during those engagements around tolerance from HMRC for new processes bedding in, so, giving a bit of flexibility, if you like, for companies to adjust to that. Obviously, there are concerns around what the internal market Act now means for funding, questions around data adequacy, which obviously at this point in time are subject to ongoing discussions, but there's a bridging mechanism around that. There are some questions around shortage occupation lists, and the impacts on the haulage sector around that, and questions around these arrangements. These are the sorts of things that businesses are telling us, and have been telling us for some time, have been causing concerns. 

In terms of the post-transition period, if you like, I think the most obvious example of the lack of readiness overall relates to the operation of our ports, and the export arrangements that exporters need to put in place. There are, I think, obviously very low volumes at this point in time transiting through Holyhead and the ports in the south west, but even at these volumes the turn around rate is running at between 20 per cent and 25 per cent, so that's freight and hauliers getting to the port without having put in place the arrangements they need to export through the Republic and into Northern Ireland, for example, or into the Republic direct. And about 20 per cent or 25 per cent of those businesses are being turned away. As it happens, the vast majority of people are being sorted out in a very short space of time—probably 30 minutes or so—and most of them are able to pick up on their original booking, if you like. So, it's those sorts of things—very practical obstacles, if you like. 

14:35

Okay. Can you say are you broadly happy with the contingency measures put in place by the Welsh Government to mitigate the disruptions at the port of Holyhead, and have they been effective? 

Just to take a step back, if I may, there are two sets of issues, if you like, or potential issues that affect our ports. One is to do with interruption in the flow on the border itself, and the second is the traffic management consequences of that, if you like—the dislocation of freight as a consequence of that. The first batch of issues are a UK Government reserved responsibility, and the second batch of issues are a devolved responsibility to the Welsh Government. So, our intervention, if you like—our contingency intervention around Holyhead and the ports in the south-west—are around the traffic management of that. And so far—obviously we have stacking arrangements in Holyhead and further stacking arrangements coming onstream within the next week or so, which has coincided with what we anticipate will be the peak, or at least an increase, and there are obviously similar arrangements in the south-west as well—those stacking arrangements in Holyhead haven't needed to be used so far. So, in that sense, they haven't been tested, but the fact that they have been in place and not been used has obviously provided reassurance to us. 

Thank you for that. You've mentioned that there is little disruption at this moment at the ports and, obviously, you've also mentioned the fact that there is a comparably small amount of movement at this time of the year anyway, which is a normal matter. So, can you update the committee on the development of the new inland border control sites in Wales? These are going to become a significant factor. Could you outline the Welsh Government's assessment of business readiness for those that have been moving goods through Welsh ports since January 2021? You did touch on that, I know, a little earlier, but can you expand on it?  

On the haulier business readiness, then, there's obviously been a significant amount of communication with haulage companies, both by the Governments together and by the port authorities as well. But that has still got us to a position where, as I say, about 20 per cent to 25 per cent of arrivals have been turned away. Now, on a practical basis, I think about two thirds of those are able to get themselves in order, if you like, and have not missed their booking. So, in a sense, the lion's share is operating in that way, but it is concerning that it's still a 20 per cent, 25 per cent run rate, and as volumes of freight increase, which they are bound to do, then we would obviously not want to see 20 per cent or 25 per cent being turned away. I should say that 20 per cent or 25 per cent is still below our planning assumptions, so these are not percentages that we are not anticipating, if you like, we've planned for it, but, plainly, we don't want to see it happen. And the reason it's so important for it not to happen is we don't want to see hauliers not using Holyhead, and we've already seen, I think, some of the impact in the first couple of weeks of this year. 

I will just say one thing, if I may: the levels of traffic are lower than we would expect them to be in January, so it is, as it were, particularly suppressed at the moment, and I think the next couple of weeks will be the real test, and beyond that.

14:40

Yes, almost certainly. Well, in fact, certainly. But what I would also say as a cautionary note is that some of the companies, some of the hauliers being turned around, as it were, turned away to return, are large companies with sophisticated regulation and audit arrangements and compliance arrangements. So, the pattern is not—. It's not simply the case that it's the smaller hauliers, for example, who may not be as best or as well resourced to deal with the compliance. It's also true for some of the larger haulage companies, so we're obviously concerned about that. 

On your other point, in relation to the—. I think you said two inland sites. In fact, there will now be three inland sites, we anticipate. Obviously, those discussions are under way, both in Holyhead and for ports in the south-west. Clearly, that infrastructure isn't required before July, but I think meeting a July timetable on that is extremely ambitious and—I would suggest, at this point—highly unlikely to be met. This isn't a Wales issue; it's a UK-wide issue.

Counsel General, you just mentioned three instead of two. We have, obviously, been led to believe previously there would be one in north Wales and one in south-west Wales. Are you now saying there will be one for Pembroke Dock and one for Milford Haven separately?

Yes. We are anticipating two in the south-west, for various reasons to do with logistics, Chair. That's our current planning assumption.

And they're under the auspices of the UK Government.

No, in fact; those two aren't. The UK Government's arrangements—. The working assumption between both Governments had been for some time that there would be a joint facility, and probably only one, to manage the flow for both the main ports in the south-west. I can't remember exactly when, if I'm honest, but in the last couple of months, perhaps, at the end of last year, the UK Government decided it could manage its responsibilities within the port curtilage, and so, that decision having been made by the UK Government effectively meant that the sites—at least, at the point, it was one site, but the sites—now required are Welsh Government-only responsibilities. So, we are responsible for delivering on those two sites.

A final question from me on this one is: what discussions are you having with the Irish Government in relation to these—clearly, because that's where the ports go to? And particularly in relation to the fact that I'm reading that—. And we all know DFDS has indicated it's going to run a ferry straight to France from Ireland. Stena Line has now announced that it's doubling up its direct transport to France from Ireland. So, are you having discussions with the Irish Government as to how this would impact the upon the ports, and particularly Dublin, which I know is the heavier port on their side?

'Yes' is the answer, Chair. There are discussions with the Irish Government in relation to that, and developments in Ireland obviously reflect very closely on our daily rhythm of activity here within the Government as well, so you'll be aware of concessions that the Irish Government have made around easements to facilitate some of the pressures at Holyhead and Pembroke Dock in particular. So, obviously we're very alive to that and we obviously discussed that with our representation in Dublin as well.

Thank you very much. I'm interested, Minister, in the future relationship Act and the consequences that flow from that. I think one of the things that certainly concerned me, and I think concerned the Welsh Government, when we had first sight of that piece of legislation, was the structure of the Bill, as it was at the time, in that it gave Government and gave the Executive of the UK Government very wide and sweeping powers—far more so than would ever be anticipated in normal times. I'm interested, therefore, in the conversation that you're having at the moment with UK Government about how those powers will operate, because there will be areas where UK Ministers will have powers now to amend, certainly, pieces of legislation that have been put on the statute book by our Parliament, and so they're not even answerable to us for their actions. Have you had any early conversations about how these new powers will operate and whether you see a role for the Senedd in delivering on any new powers?

14:45

The answer to your question is 'yes, in parts'. There have been discussions with the UK Government around what implementation steps are required, using the various provisions in the Act as it is now. Our clear understanding is that there's no immediate need for any secondary legislation, so there isn't any immediate secondary legislation planned. That's partly by virtue of the operation of section 29 in the Act, which is a—what's the best way of putting this—an omnibus provision, I suppose would be the benign way of describing it, which effectively requires all domestic law to be interpreted in compliance or in conformity, rather, with the provisions of the agreement. That's highly unsatisfactory, obviously, for reasons that we will all be conscious of. But the one benefit of it is that it removes the immediate need for a whole raft of secondary legislation.

The UK Government has made a commitment in the delegated powers memorandum for the Act to mirror the provision that appears in other arrangements to not normally legislate without the agreement of the Welsh Government in Wales. Obviously, we have similar commitments in other parts of our constitutional and Brexit arrangements. We have seen that work in parts, but not in other parts, obviously. And I think in terms of the role of the Senedd, we'll probably envisage using something like the Standing Order 30 mechanism to notify the Senedd where Welsh Ministers are consenting to the UK Government legislating, but that's very much a kind of evolving picture at the moment about how the Senedd can best be engaged in that, it seems to me. 

I think that's a very inadequate mechanism in terms of where we are, because certainly, as a parliamentarian myself, I would want to have some far more significant opportunity to review any proposed legislation than is currently the case, but I recognise that that's not in your gift in this matter. Do you share the Scottish Government's view of section 29, in that it's wide-ranging and of uncertain effect?

Oh yes, I mean, there's no—. The first point is that I'd be grateful, obviously, for the committee's reflections on what the best mechanism is, by the way, in terms of engaging the Senedd. So, I'd be grateful to hear the committee's thoughts on that. But, yes, we absolutely share the Scottish Government's view. That was one of our principal concerns when we saw the Bill, which was obviously very shortly before the debate, as you will know: the wide-ranging blanket nature of section 29, really. I think it just shows the pickle in which the UK Government had found itself really in leaving things until way past the eleventh hour. It probably meant that that mechanism was the only kind of thing available, but it's plainly unsatisfactory in constitutional terms.

We seem to be in a very difficult place in our democracy in the United Kingdom at the moment, don't we? I always pay great attention, Minister, to your statements, as you know, and I paid particular attention to a statement that you made just before Christmas, which nearly made me spill my tea. You said that you were planning a legal challenge to the internal market Bill, should the Bill become law. It is now law and it would be useful, I think, for the committee to understand what you meant by that statement, how you're progressing it and what you anticipate will be the means of your challenge. Because our reading of the Bill, I think it's fair to say, was that it almost made itself immune from challenge by the way that it was written.

Well, I think it was on 16 December that I wrote to the UK Government to notify them that, unless the Bill was changed at a point when it could still be changed, by the way, then I would consider bringing a legal challenge. The challenge, effectively, is a declaration in the administrative court that the Bill would not be capable of being interpreted to achieve certain outcomes that would impinge upon the devolution settlement. The UK Government responded to the letter that I sent—I couldn't promise you the date of it, but certainly, in the latter half of last week. So, that is being looked at now by Welsh Government lawyers, to take full account of the UK Government's response. I probably shouldn't speculate on what will happen next. But, having read the letter myself, I was, shall we say, left with many unanswered questions. So, I will expect to make an announcement to the Senedd about our next steps, so that the Senedd is kept informed of that, and to do that, I hope, in reasonably short order.

14:50

Okay, that's fair enough. But, for those of us who are paupers rather than lawyers, could the Minister outline exactly what he means by that challenge? Taking something to an administrative court because it affects the devolution settlement: what does that mean in real terms?

Well, an Act has its force from being interpreted by the courts in particular ways. There are some conventions that mean that legislation of some sorts is protected from implied repeal by others. So, constitution legislation is protected from implied repeal by other legislation, and that's really at the heart of the argument that we have made to the UK Government. This Act fails to meet that standard, effectively, in that it doesn't address on the face of the Bill what it seeks to do. It seeks to do it in an implied way.

The question then is how you interpret that Act. Is it interpreted in a way that limits the Senedd's competence or not? Our argument is that the courts should give a declaration that the Act should not be effectively interpreted in a way that achieves a diminution in the Senedd's powers, effectively. But, I will be happy to make a more detailed statement when, in fairness, I will have been able to take fully on board the response of the UK Government in the letter at the end of last week. But that, I think, gives you a very high-level sense.

Thank you, Minister, for that. I'd like to move on a little bit now to some common frameworks. Clearly, with the agreement in place, common frameworks become an important aspect of the way we move forward. So, over to Huw.

Thanks, Chair. Yes, on to some—[Inaudible.]—of common frameworks. Minister, you have probably picked up from previous committee sessions that we'd have preferred to have seen more progress on the common frameworks, and it would probably have avoided some of the to-ing and fro-ing in Westminster over recent months in some aspects as well. However, we are now where we are and these common frameworks are going to be of critical importance.

So, could I ask first of all: are we going to see, in each part of the UK, the preservation of retained EU law at the end of the transition period, in common framework areas, until those frameworks have been subject to scrutiny and finalised? Linked to that, when are we going to see all of the provisional frameworks available for scrutiny?

Certainly. I will need to check the detail of my recollection on the first point, if I may, and I will ask Sophie if she could perhaps remind me of what has ultimately been agreed in relation to that. 

On the second part of your question, just before Christmas, I approved, as the relevant Minister on behalf of all colleagues, I think it was around 20 frameworks to be taken forward for scrutiny. So, I think that the only obstacle to them being scrutinised at the moment remains that the agreement of the Northern Ireland Executive to take that action is still awaited. I think that, to be fair, my understanding is that that is entirely down to the complex multi-party structure in Northern Ireland, rather than any reservation or disagreement around the content. So, that's around 20 frameworks that are in that position.

There are then, I think, three or four—four, actually—that didn't quite get signed off before Christmas because of, I imagine, pressures in other parts of the UK. So, there are some health frameworks in that space, but that is simply a question of timing rather than any issue. And there are two or three that just need a bit more work, unfortunately, with the best will in the world, to get them into a position to be scrutinised.

So, in that last category you would see things like—. Well, there are only two, I think. One is the qualifications and one is a framework that touches on some aspects of services. Obviously, both are very relevant to the agreement that has been reached. But, again, there is more work that needs to be done on those two, but that's a kind of snapshot, I think, of where we are. But, I will ask Sophie to come in on the point that you raised first, Huw, if I may.

Hi. Good afternoon, everyone. Just to pick up on a couple of the procedural elements that the Counsel General has picked up on there, it's correct that the two frameworks that require the most outstanding work are in relation to mutual recognition of professional qualifications and services. The other one that is just being refined at the moment, I think, relates to organics, but all the rest now are at the point where provisional agreement can be reached, I think.

In terms of the programme of work, I wouldn't wish to speak to individual frameworks and the content of individual frameworks, but, in terms of the suite of common frameworks that were agreed provisionally before the end of the year, they all, effectively, reflect the core tenet of the programme, which is that they set out a common approach in a given subject area, a common way of ensuring that the area is governed and managed, and those agreements recognise the devolved settlements and they recognise the different competence afforded to the different Governments and legislatures around the UK. So, the frameworks themselves, those provisional agreements set up at that high level, how to ensure that they can be managed sensibly at this point, and that will be refined through this year.

14:55

Okay, thank you both for that. That's really helpful. Chair, I suspect we'll probably need to write on a couple of areas because we're running out of time, but if I could simply ask you, Minister, in terms of revisions, so when we have these in place, publicised, scrutinised and firmly in place, and we'll write to you on some of the detailed points that we have, the question is then on how those common frameworks will need to be revised, for example, to reflect the UK-EU trade and co-operation agreement, to reflect the Ireland and Northern Ireland protocol and the withdrawal agreement, and what sort of timetable that we're looking at for these revisions as well. So, I wonder if you could share your thoughts with us on those aspects of revisions at the moment.  

They are outline frameworks at the moment, just to note that. So, it was always envisaged that they will be expanded upon over the course of the next year or so. But, as you say, there is now the agreement, there's the Northern Ireland protocol, there's the internal market Act and the future relationship agreement itself. So, there's a range of ways in which we now need to apply a set of lenses to those frameworks in the coming year. The work plan for doing that obviously is, as it were, still under discussion between officials and the four Governments, not least given that at least two of those elements have only just come into play really, but we will communicate to the committee the planned timetable as soon as we have it.

Thank you for that. Chair, I think you'll need to move me on, I'm guessing.

We will come to an end. But, since you've passed it over to me, Huw, could I just ask the Counsel General, as you highlighted, the future relations Act and the internal market Act clearly would have an impact upon common frameworks, have you or when do you expect to deliver an assessment as to the implications of those Acts upon the common frameworks?

Well, that's the question I was intending to have answered with Huw now, Chair. The work plan is being worked up in order to do that. That is what I'm suggesting: I will let you know as soon as we have an approved provisional timetable between the four Governments. 

Okay. You expect the timetable between the four Governments to be agreed. So, that's not just you setting up a plan, it's actually coming to an agreement on it as well.

No, it will need to be agreed, because it's the sequencing of moving the frameworks on, having them scrutinised. Obviously it needs to be co-ordinated effectively between the four Governments. I would suggest, Chair, though it's not a matter for me, it also needs co-ordinating between the four legislatures, but I think that would be the rational way of proceeding, but that's obviously not a matter for me.

We've come to the end of our allocated time set, Minister, so we'll probably stop there. I've got one question that is slightly linked. The Welsh Government's obviously had many memoranda of understanding with different regions across the EU prior to transition and exit. Are you establishing a schedule to have meetings with those regions to discuss what the implications are of the agreement on the memorandum of understanding, and how we will continue to work together under that new agreement?

Well, what we're doing at the moment, Chair, is looking at the impact of the agreement in all its different ways effectively, and clearly one of the lenses we'll need to apply is what it does to some of our inter-governmental and other memoranda, as you say. What does it mean for that? What do the governance arrangements mean for us? So, we'll be taking all of that into account as part of our rapid analysis and stock take of where we are in light of an agreement that is still little more than two weeks old.

15:00

Yes, I appreciate that very much, but it's important that we ensure that Wales's voice and position in Europe is still maintained as strongly as possible.  

On that, Chair, I'll give you the assurance that remains absolutely fundamental to the work of the Government in maintaining relations. There's been a significant push to maintain strong connections with different regions within Europe, and that absolutely remains a key priority for the Government.

Okay. Thank you. We have now reached the end of our time, so can I thank you for your attendance this afternoon, Minister, and your officials? As you know, you'll receive a copy of the transcript for any factual inaccuracies, and you will let us know, I'm sure, as soon as possible, if you identify any of those. So, Minister, I thank you for attending today.

3. Papurau i’w nodi
3. Papers to note

For Members, we move on to the next item on the agenda, which is papers to note, and we have several of these papers, so can we just go through them quietly? The first one is correspondence from the chairperson of the committee for the executive office to the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland regarding committee scrutiny of common frameworks. It just sets out some difficulties that the Northern Ireland Assembly committees are having in scrutinising common frameworks, and we just wish to note it. Are Members okay to note that? Thank you.

The second one is correspondence from the Minister for Housing and Local Government to the Chair of the Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee regarding the hazardous substances draft framework. Again, are Members content to note that?

The third one is correspondence from the convener of the Health and Sport Committee in the Scottish Parliament to the Chair regarding provisional UK common frameworks on nutrition labelling. Again, will Members note that paper?

The fourth one is correspondence from the Counsel General to the Chair of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee regarding the Joint Ministerial Committee (EU Negotiations). Are Members content to note that? I see they are.

The fifth one is correspondence from the Counsel General to the Chair and to the Chair of the Legislation, Justice and Constitution Committee regarding the ministerial forum for trade that took place on 7 January. Are Members content to note that?

The sixth one is 'International Agreements, Common Frameworks and Devolution', a paper from Professor Michael Keating and Lindsey Garner-Knapp, which is very helpful information and guidance. Are Members content to note that? I see they are. Thank you very much for that.

4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) a (ix) i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod.
4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42(vi) and (ix) to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(vi) a (ix).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(vi) and (ix).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Then we move on to item 4, which is a motion under Standing Order 17.42(vi) to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of today's meeting. Are Members content to do so? I see they are. Therefore, we will now move into private session for the remainder of today's meeting.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 15:02.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 15:02.