09/02/2017 Business Questions


Live coverage of the announcement of Commons business for the week ahead and questions to the Leader of the Commons David Lidington.

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review published in October. I expect to publish the


recommendations and findings in the spring.


Questions for the Secretary of State for International Trade, Thomas


Simmonds. Mr Speaker, the EU Canada


comprehensive economic trade agreement, CE GAA, is a good


agreement for the UK. -- CETA. The UK Government is fully committed to


supporting such agreements whilst we remain EU members. The investment


protection provisions in CETA will have no impact on UK environment or


legislation and they cannot force the UK or other parties to change


their laws on the environment or on any other area of public policy.


I'm grateful for that answer but many of my constituents are worried


about as maintaining our current environmental standards post-Brexit.


Could be Minister guarantee that whether this trade deal or any other


trade deal the UK intends to make, that our current environmental


standards will not be watered down? What I can tell him is that in


trying in CETA and many other free-trade agreements it remains the


UK's right to regulate in these areas, which would include key


environmental protections, and there is nothing for example on the ICS


system that would force the UK to change its environmental


regulations. I notice however, Mr Speaker, that the honourable


gentleman voted against CETA yesterday. But he may not know that


when CETA was debated in this House on Monday in committee, the official


opposition was actually in favour of it.


Michael Fabricant. Has my honourable friend heard of...


It is the plan being proposed within the Canadian Parliament for a


Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom trade partnership


after Brexit? Does he share my enthusiasm for this?


Mr Speaker, I saw this proposal and we are very enthusiastic about the


future of UK trade with Canada. I would repeat that we are currently


supportive of CETA going through and we think it is very important for


the UK for the European Union and for Canada, and we will be doing


what we can to campaign for that to go through, not least in the face of


the new-found opposition by Her Majesty's opposition.


If I could point out to the Minister, but a majority of the


Labour members voted for the trade deal. And given that Canada is such


a long-standing Commonwealth friend, Ally, and defence and trade partner,


cookie onto this basic question? In a post-Brexit world, if we can't do


a deal with Canada, who the hell can we do a deal with?


Thank you very much indeed for that question. He is right that more


Labour MPs voted for CETA, 86 and 68 against, and over 100 ab staining.


This agreement took eight years to gestate and you would have thought


that the opposition would have got that the opposition would have got


its act together by now. In terms of a particular point, I also quote


from one of his colleagues he said, quote, if we can't support eight


trade deal with liberal, Justin Trudeau led Canada, who do we


support trade deals with? LAUGHTER


Post-Brexit, will be CETA deal be transitioned into a bilateral


arrangement, or will vary to be a fresh Canada- UK agreement?


My honourable friend raises an interesting point and I think we


will have to look at that when we come to it. What would say is that


there is a number of important aspects of the CETA deal that we


might look to replicate in a future deal, but for the time being the UK,


European Union, remain strongly European Union, remain strongly


supportive of CETA going through. I heard the honourable gentleman


opposite saying he was indeed the backbencher named in the article


which refer to him as an unnamed backbencher, so it is good to see he


is now named and supporting the Labour Party, and their traditional


friends in Canada and the Liberal party.


Question two, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, the Government will lead


the way ensuring countries have their opportunity to trade their way


out of property. While the UK is a member of the EU, we remain


committed to economic partnership could agreements, a general ice cube


of preferences, and we are working closely with the Department for


International Development to ensure the global trading system of the


future is as fair and as free as possible.


Many thanks, Mr Speaker. Trading with developing countries is crucial


to providing jobs and livelihoods for sustainable development goals.


Will the Secretary of State committed to fair trade principles


in relation to future trade deals with developing countries to ensure


local populations can benefit sustainably and that it condiments


the work of different people in my constituency and beyond?


Let me join the honourable lady to contribute to a fair trade campaign.


It is reporting to ensure that farmers receive a fair price for


their products, and that agricultural workers receive better


workers, and agricultural practices are made more sustainable. As


Britain leads the EU, outside the common external tariff, there will


be freedom to do something things she recommends.


When we look at west African cocoa, East African coffee, Tunisian


olives, we find that the cause of unfair trade policy is the European


Union. Will he agree that what we can set our own tariffs outside the


common external tariff of the EU, we can help those countries trade their


way out of poverty? Mr Speaker, this Government is


committed to an open and liberal trading system. That is one of the


best ways to help poor countries, to have an even greater liberalisation


than we have today. When we are outside the common external tariff


of the EU, we will have an opportunity unilaterally to have new


opportunities as he suggests. Thank you, Mr Speaker. The 21st


century offers us an opportunity to build on our pride and identity as a


nation which promotes human rights, workers' rights and environmental


protection, all part of fair trade principles. How will the Government


build on this part of our national identity in trade negotiations?


We are already playing a part in that. Britain played a major role in


the WTO or arrangement, which will come into effect in a short time,


trade facilitation agreement. That will be worth about ?70 billion to


the global economy, and for some of the poorest countries, such as


sub-Saharan Africa, that will be worth about ?10 billion, a major


contribution to them and we should be proud.


In my role as the Prime Minister's trade envoy to Nigeria...


Bravo! Will he join me in encouraging


Nigeria to show the benefits of trade widely with its people?


That is a message I will be taking when they make a visit to Nigeria


myself in the not distant future. Thank you, Mr Speaker. The


Department of International trade supports efforts to grow the UK's


space Centre, and we work closely with the UK space agency for growth.


In January I led a UK space agency mission to the US where I advocated


the UK had an attractive market for space sector companies. We intend to


highlight progress in Manchester in May. UK Export Finance offers


finance to help UK-based companies in the space sector.


It is great to hear that the UK is fast becoming a world leader in the


space sector, but can right honourable friend inform the house


on his efforts to secure foreign direct investment into the UK to


support domestic growth in this industry?


My honourable friend is right to raise the importance of the sector.


The numbers are fantastic, six times the average development investment,


and 2.7 times the average productivity in the UK. In the last


few years, we have supported 19 successful investment project in


this sector and will continue to work with the Department of business


energy and industrial strategy to deliver UK space innovation and


growth into the future. The encrypted public service


channels of the new Galileo space navigation system are restricted to


the EU member states. What steps will the Government take post-Brexit


to ensure the Government has access to Galileo, which we invested in?


Galileo is the satellite navigation system put up by the European Space


Agency, by the European Union. This is something which is one of the


many different things we have to negotiate over the coming years. The


use of spectrum is one of the most incredible things, because Spectrum


is limited to this area. This is something the Government will be


looking at as one of many other things, many important things to


look at. I assure him this is a... Spectrum is a valuable asset to this


country and we will make sure we get our fair share.


Since 23rd June the UK has continued to attract investment from global


technology companies, including Facebook expanding by 50% in the UK.


Google pledging to invest ?1 billion. Snap chat's new global HQ


in London and more. This showcases the UK's leading capability through


our overseas network and through our digital platform.


The global market for smart City technologies alone is something in


the region of $400 billion. British firms lead the way in many of the


specialisations. However, we could win more contracts if there was a UK


approach to having a complete City solution. Could I encourage


ministers to promote greater collaboration between businesses and


Government. ? My honourable friend is correct. I agree with everything


he said, in terms of the size of the UK capability, the size of the


potential market and the need to have a team UK approach, which I


spoke about recently when I visited his APPG, just two weeks ago. And Mr


Speaker, in addition I can announce today two UK companies that secured


a contract worth tens of millions of pounds to build a new head quarters


in the UAE with support of UK Export Finance, showing the UK remains very


much open for business. Mr Speaker, the number one tech


Brexit worry is when we leave, it will become unlawful to send


personal data from Europe into the UK unless we've achieved a


declaration made by the European Commission about our privacy


arrangements. Will that declaration be achieved in time? Well, Mr


Speaker, I was in the previous question and I heard him ask


precisely the same question. Of the technology minister and the UK is


committed to implementing the global agreement, committing to make sure


this will work for the UK once we transition outside of the European


Union. Thank you, Mr Speaker. I welcome the British business banks


funding. Will it ensure that Britain get their fair share so the rev


lulings can continue? -- revolution can continue. May I thank him on the


fourth Industrial Revolution in this House and beyond as being a key


advocate not just in the UK, but around the world, in making sure the


UK takes advantage of its great strengths in technological


expertise? Figures published by the centre for City show that Glasgow's


exports were worth... Where the technology sector in Glasgow, will


the Secretary of State consider the Scottish Government's proposals in


Scotland place in Europe to keep Scotland in the single market? I am


very sympathetic to Glasgow maintaining its exports and


capability in smart cities. The UK and the department for international


trade we follow the whole of the UK approach, often working with key


partners like Scotland development international. However, I will point


out, that more important is Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom,


where some four times as much of Scottish produce and capabilities


exported within the United Kingdom, compared to the European Union.


Thank you. British tech firms have been unable to go to two US trade


shows and look unlikely to attend a top conference in Singapore, due to


extensive delays from his department in announcing trade access


partnership funding L he go back to the department and conif irm the


funding so British businesses can attend trade shows and play their


part in boosting our exports and economy? Well, Mr Speaker t


department for international trade continually reviews its products and


services to ensure that they meet its customer needs and republic good


value for the -- and represent good value for the taxpayer. It will be


completed shortly. So we will confirm events shortly.


Mr Speaker, building on my visit to Taiwan in September, we will


continue to work with the Taiwanese authorities to address market issues


and to further increase our trade in this important market. The UK and


Taiwan share a favourable outlook on Fairtrade. Bilateral trade reached


?5.9 billion in 2014, up 8% compared to 2010.


I am pleased the minister met with the President last September. I hope


he shares my belief, as Britain reaches out to secure more trade


deals that we keep in site our foreign policy values. Does the


minister agree that increased trade with Taiwan and the UK is a win for


both our economies but also for our Liberal Democratic values? I very


much agree with the honourable gentleman. The EC and Taiwan share


so -- UK and Taiwan share so many commitments. The protection of a


free society and we have very strongly shared values of free


trade, open markets and openness to foreign investment. I had very


productive talks with the President herself when I was there in


September, who is a big friend of the United Kingdom, not least due to


her undergraduate time at the London School of Economics.


I know the minister will be aware that back in 2008 Taiwan was granted


Commonwealth nations research membership and as such they will


look to the Commonwealth Trade Minister's meeting taking place here


in London in March L the minister confirm that trade with the


Commonwealth is a top priority for this Government after we leave the


European Union. Will he commit to ensure that during that trade


meeting as many members of this House, from all sides can be


involved to ensure that relationships with Commonwealth


parliamentarians are key? Yes. Mr Speaker, I think in terms of both


trade with Taiwan and with the Commonwealth, this department


remains extremely supportive of members being involved. I expect in


relation to the Trade Minister's meeting forthcoming, in terms of


specific engagements with parliamentarians I would hope to see


the CPA involved in those discussions. With trade deals in


place for the likes of whisky and Northern Ireland products, can the


minister say he uses the success of the long life dairy supplied to


dairies across the world? Well, Mr Speaker when I returned to Taiwan,


when I held talks with the Taiwan authorities in September,


agricultural produce was at the centre of talks. We talked about


pork exports, we talked about poultry exports and we mentioned,


made some progress on Scottish whisky. Taiwan is Scottish's third


largest global market. We made some important progress on seeking


Scottish whisky being certified by Taiwan. I know a lot of businesses


focus on the China market for obvious reasons. When I led a


delegation as a party in September to Taiwan I witnessed a vibrant


economy. Does he agree if British businesses ignore Taiwan they are


missing a trick? I totally agree with my honourable friend. In fact


he and I were in Taiwan at roughly the same time back in September. I


applaud the work that he does for the APPG, for Taiwan. Taiwan has a


long-standing open market to UK goods and services. We need to make


sure that we work hard to remove the few remaining barriers there are.


That was the purpose of the talks in September. I think the message from


this House should go out loud and clear to British businesses that


Taiwan is a very good place for them to do their business.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. Does my honourable friend see any reason why


this will not continue after we leave the EU? Mr Speaker... Thank


you, Mr Speaker. Number six. The South-West connects companies in


Cornwall across the world. Cornish companies in all sectors can access


a full range of department for international trade services. We


have launched the great dot gove website. New Cornish exportses step


into the place and help compete in high growth markets. There's been a


flurry of businesses producing food, drink and other goods. There's no


doubt about the quality of their produce. Very few of these products,


food and drink go beyond Cornish borders, let alone overseas. Will


the minister accept an invitation to meet with these producers and help


them expand their markets? As my Right Honourable friend knows my


family have roots in corner over 100 family have roots in corner over 100


years, which means we are no longer an in-comer. He is a south-west MP.


He has met with Cornish producers. I am a frequent visitor to the county.


At the very first opportunity I will go with him to meet his constituents


and across the whole of Cornwall in order to explore ways we can really


push this fantastic county's product. Thank you very much.


Question number seven. Mr Speaker, I launched a trade


policy dialogue with the New Zealand Trade Minister to consider how we


can strengthen our economic ties. Last month the Prime Minister met


with the Prime Minister of New Zealand land and agreed for work on


a new agreement between the UK and New Zealand once the UK leaves the


European Union. Thank you very much. THE SPEAKER: The Government wanted


it to be grouped with number nine. Indeed. We are grateful. Thank you


very much Mr Speaker. I warmly welcome the early and constructive


dialogue with our colleagues and friends in New Zealand. Will my


Right Honourable friend do all he can to explore every opportunity of


bilateral trade with New Zealand, including the natural sin any gis


between our rural economies I very much agree. The UK exported over


?1.2 billion goods to New Zealand last year and opportunities for our


rural businesses will be an important part of the work as we


take forward dialogue with New Zealand, which I intend to visit


over the summer months. Thank you Mr Speaker. This year the


British New Zealand business asoishation reaches its --


association reaches its centenary. I have experience of the warmth


between our two countries. Does the minister agree with me that there is


a hope and that we look forward to a great increase in trade between our


two countries in the years ahead? Mr Speaker, I certainly hope that will


be possible, given the freedom we'll have outside the European Union to


negotiate such a free trade agreement. In fact it is not just


our two countries that will benefit, all countries around the globe will


benefit from the new global Britain and our attitude towards global free


trade with all the benefits it brings, especially to the world's


poor. The Secretary of State will know that New Zealand is a land of


30 million sheep. Six or seven sheep for every person. Has the Secretary


of State discussed the impact of a trade deal with the leader of the


National Farmers Union. They regard the combination of a 43% WTO tariff


on sheep meat and increased market access for New Zealand as


potentially fatal to our sheep farmers. How will the minister


protect them? As I said, that will be an important


part of our discussions. We will want to discuss with the NFU and


others how we do that. We need to take into account something which is


not mentioned very often, the interests of UK consumers in any


trade deal we come to. Question one. There are three tasks,


promoting exports, serving the why, maximising opportunities for wealth


creation, including through overseas direct investment, to support the


current account and negotiate the best trading framework for the UK


outside the EU. On terms of investment, I can announce that


Mcclarn will open a ?50 million manufacturing plant in Sheffield


which will create 200 new jobs. Given how desperate the


International Secretary is to negotiate a trade deal with the US,


what steps will be taken to make sure that Scottish farmers are not


on the cup? The quality produce will be a source of negotiation, but in


terms of undercutting Scottish economy, what I am told by investors


in the United States is that one of the things hanging over them that is


actually depressing investment opportunities is the threat of


separation. I welcome the recent establishment of a UK Israel trade


working group. We have seen bilateral trade between the UK and


is well increase year after year. Can the Secretary of State provide


further information about how the group works and does he share my


view that the Middle Eastern democracy should be one of our first


trade deals? My honourable friend is right to highlight the good trade


system we have with Israel. It was announced there will be a working


group on trade by the Prime Minister earlier in the week, but the EU


already has a trade arrangement with Israel and this is something in the


first instance we would look to continue. But I am sure there will


be many opportunities where we can improve on that, given the fact the


trade deal was done with one country and 28 and bilateral will be easier


to negotiate. The Secretary of State had promised that had he had the


opportunity to debate the trade agreement on the floor of the house,


but the promise was broken and the debate was sidelined to an obscure


committee earlier this week. Given that the UK will soon be responsible


for negotiating is an international trade deals following Brexit, what


assurances can the Secretary of State can be House that


parliamentarians will have the full opportunity to scrutinise such trade


deals in future and not be afforded the discourtesy that we have been


recently. It is not an obscure committee. It was a two and a half


hour debate in committee room ten following the proper procedures set


out by this House. At the end of the debate she failed to oppose


anything, yet in the Scottish Parliament yesterday they voted


against it en masse. They have changed their position on something


that has been debated for eight years in the space of 24 hours. Many


Cornishmen and women emigrated to seek work in the New Zealand in the


late 19th century. Will my honourable friend now support other


great Cornish exports, our wonderful produce, such as Cornish side


produced in my constituency? It is good to see the far west of the


country is being well represented on a one line whip. There are fantastic


products coming from her constituency, with many


award-winning brands. It is the job of the Department of International


trade to push exports from Cornwall to the four corners of the globe.


When I read to the Secretary of State in November to asked for an


investigation into his department was Mac support for any British


businesses engaging corrupt practices, he replied saying his


department had no power to conduct such an investigation. Last week


after the publicity surrounding Rolls-Royce's deferred prosecution,


he announced precisely such an investigation. When did the powers


of his department change? One will enquiry report back and why will he


-- and well he explained why he has not complied with the principles of


the OECD anti-bribery and corruption? Rolls-Royce has made it


clear it will not tolerate improper business of any sort. They continue


to operate with the Serious Fraud Office and we await the final


outcome. It would not be proper to comment before that. The details of


the statements... To contribute the trend of south-west transporting, a


large company has won a contract to provide technology to Indonesia.


While his department work with me to produce a short story to capture the


story and to encourage other SMEs? I'm sure my honourable friend had


something to do with that. Absolutely. We would all be


delighted to help in any way we can to help promote this investment. A


hard Tory Brexit will be damaging for the Scottish aerospace industry


which contributes more than 130 million to the Scottish economy.


Will assurances be provided that the Scottish aerospace sector will have


barrier free access to the European single market? It has been the very


clear aim of the government to ensure tariff and barrier free


access once we leave the European Union and that's what we intend to


negotiate. The Scottish aerospace industry will be stronger for being


represented by all of the United Kingdom. Does he agree with me that


company registration using a company 's house type model is important to


promote the economies of developing companies seeking foreign direct


investment and it's also good news for the UK financial services sector


that will follow on from such a scheme? My honourable friend makes


an important general point in a specific question. One we have an


open trading system, it is a win- win. The economies can benefit from


sharing the same system. How many employees have the Civil Service


recruited. We are adding 50 extra staff to our trade policy group and


will continue to do so. We will be increasing the numbers as we look at


our WTO numbers and our obligations there. Also one we look to the FTA


is that we have. The current number of 200 will be augmented as we go


forward. -- FTAs. We take an ongoing and continuous interest in the still


sector. It is obviously a sector facing difficulty at the moment that


the low global steel price, but we do see a good future for UK steel


and the Department of International Trade looks forward to taking part


in a hollow government approach to make sure that UK steel is sold the


board. Order. Urgent question. Yvette Cooper. To of the Home


Secretary to make a statement on the government 's decision to close


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