Live International Trade Questions House of Commons

Live International Trade Questions

Live coverage of questions in the House of Commons to the international trade secretary Liam Fox and his ministerial team.

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evidence that came to us from the 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


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


Union. Will he agree that what we 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


Agency, by the European Union. This 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


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 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 the scheme for child refugees. Secretary


of State. We have pledged over ?2.3 billion in


aid to the simmering conflict. It is our largest ever humanitarian


response to a single crisis. The UK has contributed significantly to


hosting, supporting and protecting the most vulnerable children


affected by the migration crisis. In the year ending September 2016, we


granted asylum or another form of leave to over 8000 children. Of the