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

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expect to publish the recommendations and findings in the

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spring. Questions for the Secretary of State

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for International Trade, Thomas Simmonds.

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Mr Speaker, the EU Canada comprehensive economic trade

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agreement, CE GAA, is a good agreement for the UK. -- CETA. The

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UK Government is fully committed to supporting such agreements whilst we

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remain EU members. The investment protection provisions in CETA will

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have no impact on UK environment or legislation and they cannot force

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the UK or other parties to change their laws on the environment or on

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any other area of public policy. I'm grateful for that answer but

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many of my constituents are worried about as maintaining our current

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environmental standards post-Brexit. Could be Minister guarantee that

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whether this trade deal or any other trade deal the UK intends to make,

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that our current environmental standards will not be watered down?

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What I can tell him is that in trying in CETA and many other

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free-trade agreements it remains the UK's right to regulate in these

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areas, which would include key environmental protections, and there

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is nothing for example on the ICS system that would force the UK to

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change its environmental regulations. I notice however, Mr

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Speaker, that the honourable gentleman voted against CETA

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yesterday. But he may not know that when CETA was debated in this House

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on Monday in committee, the official opposition was actually in favour of

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it. Michael Fabricant.

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Has my honourable friend heard of... It is the plan being proposed within

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the Canadian Parliament for a Canada, Australia, New Zealand,

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United Kingdom trade partnership after Brexit? Does he share my

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enthusiasm for this? Mr Speaker, I saw this proposal and

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we are very enthusiastic about the future of UK trade with Canada. I

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would repeat that we are currently supportive of CETA going through and

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we think it is very important for the UK for the European Union and

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for Canada, and we will be doing what we can to campaign for that to

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go through, not least in the face of the new-found opposition by Her

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Majesty's opposition. If I could point out to the

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Minister, but a majority of the Labour members voted for the trade

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deal. And given that Canada is such a long-standing Commonwealth friend,

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Ally, and defence and trade partner, cookie onto this basic question? In

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a post-Brexit world, if we can't do a deal with Canada, who the hell can

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we do a deal with? Thank you very much indeed for that

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question. He is right that more Labour MPs voted for CETA, 86 and 68

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against, and over 100 ab staining. This agreement took eight years to

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

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

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

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

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support trade deals with? LAUGHTER

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

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

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My honourable friend raises an interesting point and I think we

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

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

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

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European Union, remain strongly European Union, remain strongly

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supportive of CETA going through. I heard the honourable gentleman

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opposite saying he was indeed the backbencher named in the article

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

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

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friends in Canada and the Liberal party.

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

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the way ensuring countries have their opportunity to trade their way

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

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committed to economic partnership could agreements, a general ice cube

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

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International Development to ensure the global trading system of the

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future is as fair and as free as possible.

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

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to providing jobs and livelihoods for sustainable development goals.

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Will the Secretary of State committed to fair trade principles

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in relation to future trade deals with developing countries to ensure

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local populations can benefit sustainably and that it condiments

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the work of different people in my constituency and beyond?

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

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

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their products, and that agricultural workers receive better

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workers, and agricultural practices are made more sustainable. As

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

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be freedom to do something things she recommends.

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

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

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Union. Will he agree that what we Union. Will he agree that what we

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can set our own tariffs outside the common external tariff of the EU, we

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can help those countries trade their way out of poverty?

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Mr Speaker, this Government is committed to an open and liberal

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trading system. That is one of the best ways to help poor countries, to

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have an even greater liberalisation than we have today. When we are

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outside the common external tariff of the EU, we will have an

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opportunity unilaterally to have new opportunities as he suggests.

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Thank you, Mr Speaker. The 21st century offers us an opportunity to

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build on our pride and identity as a nation which promotes human rights,

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workers' rights and environmental protection, all part of fair trade

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principles. How will the Government build on this part of our national

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identity in trade negotiations? We are already playing a part in

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that. Britain played a major role in the WTO or arrangement, which will

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come into effect in a short time, trade facilitation agreement. That

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will be worth about ?70 billion to the global economy, and for some of

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the poorest countries, such as sub-Saharan Africa, that will be

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worth about ?10 billion, a major contribution to them and we should

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be proud. In my role as the Prime Minister's

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trade envoy to Nigeria... Bravo!

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Will he join me in encouraging Nigeria to show the benefits of

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trade widely with its people? That is a message I will be taking

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when they make a visit to Nigeria myself in the not distant future.

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Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Department of International trade

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supports efforts to grow the UK's space Centre, and we work closely

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with the UK space agency for growth. In January I led a UK space agency

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mission to the US where I advocated the UK had an attractive market for

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space sector companies. We intend to highlight progress in Manchester in

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May. UK Export Finance offers finance to help UK-based companies

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in the space sector. It is great to hear that the UK is

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fast becoming a world leader in the space sector, but can right

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honourable friend inform the house on his efforts to secure foreign

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direct investment into the UK to support domestic growth in this

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industry? My honourable friend is right to

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raise the importance of the sector. The numbers are fantastic, six times

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the average development investment, and 2.7 times the average

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productivity in the UK. In the last few years, we have supported 19

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successful investment project in this sector and will continue to

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work with the Department of business energy and industrial strategy to

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deliver UK space innovation and growth into the future.

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The encrypted public service channels of the new Galileo space

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navigation system are restricted to the EU member states. What steps

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will the Government take post-Brexit to ensure the Government has access

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to Galileo, which we invested in? Galileo is the satellite navigation

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Agency, by the European Union. This Agency, by the European Union. This

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is something which is one of the many different things we have to

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negotiate over the coming years. The use of spectrum is one of the most

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incredible things, because Spectrum is limited to this area. This is

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something the Government will be looking at as one of many other

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things, many important things to look at. I assure him this is a...

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Spectrum is a valuable asset to this country and we will make sure we get

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our fair share. Since 23rd June the UK has continued

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to attract investment from global technology companies, including

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Facebook expanding by 50% in the UK. Google pledging to invest ?1

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billion. Snap chat's new global HQ in London and more. This showcases

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the UK's leading capability through our overseas network and through our

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digital platform. The global market for smart City

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technologies alone is something in the region of $400 billion. British

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firms lead the way in many of the specialisations. However, we could

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win more contracts if there was a UK approach to having a complete City

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solution. Could I encourage ministers to promote greater

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collaboration between businesses and Government. ? My honourable friend

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is correct. I agree with everything he said, in terms of the size of the

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UK capability, the size of the potential market and the need to

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have a team UK approach, which I spoke about recently when I visited

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his APPG, just two weeks ago. And Mr Speaker, in addition I can announce

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today two UK companies that secured a contract worth tens of millions of

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pounds to build a new head quarters in the UAE with support of UK Export

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Finance, showing the UK remains very much open for business.

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Mr Speaker, the number one tech Brexit worry is when we leave, it

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will become unlawful to send personal data from Europe into the

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UK unless we've achieved a declaration made by the European

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Commission about our privacy arrangements. Will that declaration

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be achieved in time? Well, Mr Speaker, I was in the previous

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question and I heard him ask precisely the same question. Of the

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technology minister and the UK is committed to implementing the global

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agreement, committing to make sure this will work for the UK once we

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transition outside of the European Union. Thank you, Mr Speaker. I

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welcome the British business banks funding. Will it ensure that Britain

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get their fair share so the rev lulings can continue? -- revolution

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can continue. May I thank him on the fourth Industrial Revolution in this

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House and beyond as being a key advocate not just in the UK, but

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around the world, in making sure the UK takes advantage of its great

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strengths in technological expertise? Figures published by the

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centre for City show that Glasgow's exports were worth... Where the

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technology sector in Glasgow, will the Secretary of State consider the

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Scottish Government's proposals in Scotland place in Europe to keep

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Scotland in the single market? I am very sympathetic to Glasgow

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maintaining its exports and capability in smart cities. The UK

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and the department for international trade we follow the whole of the UK

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approach, often working with key partners like Scotland development

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international. However, I will point out, that more important is Scotland

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remaining in the United Kingdom, where some four times as much of

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Scottish produce and capabilities exported within the United Kingdom,

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compared to the European Union. Thank you. British tech firms have

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been unable to go to two US trade shows and look unlikely to attend a

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top conference in Singapore, due to extensive delays from his department

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in announcing trade access partnership funding L he go back to

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the department and conif irm the funding so British businesses can

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attend trade shows and play their part in boosting our exports and

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economy? Well, Mr Speaker t department for international trade

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continually reviews its products and services to ensure that they meet

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its customer needs and republic good value for the -- and represent good

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value for the taxpayer. It will be completed shortly. So we will

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confirm events shortly. Mr Speaker, building on my visit to

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Taiwan in September, we will continue to work with the Taiwanese

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authorities to address market issues and to further increase our trade in

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this important market. The UK and Taiwan share a favourable outlook on

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Fairtrade. Bilateral trade reached ?5.9 billion in 2014, up 8% compared

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to 2010. I am pleased the minister met with

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the President last September. I hope he shares my belief, as Britain

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reaches out to secure more trade deals that we keep in site our

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foreign policy values. Does the minister agree that increased trade

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with Taiwan and the UK is a win for both our economies but also for our

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Liberal Democratic values? I very much agree with the honourable

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gentleman. The EC and Taiwan share so -- UK and Taiwan share so many

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commitments. The protection of a free society and we have very

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strongly shared values of free trade, open markets and openness to

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foreign investment. I had very productive talks with the President

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herself when I was there in September, who is a big friend of

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the United Kingdom, not least due to her undergraduate time at the London

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School of Economics. I know the minister will be aware

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that back in 2008 Taiwan was granted Commonwealth nations research

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membership and as such they will look to the Commonwealth Trade

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Minister's meeting taking place here in London in March L the minister

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confirm that trade with the Commonwealth is a top priority for

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this Government after we leave the European Union. Will he commit to

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ensure that during that trade meeting as many members of this

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House, from all sides can be involved to ensure that

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relationships with Commonwealth parliamentarians are key? Yes. Mr

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Speaker, I think in terms of both trade with Taiwan and with the

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Commonwealth, this department remains extremely supportive of

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members being involved. I expect in relation to the Trade Minister's

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meeting forthcoming, in terms of specific engagements with

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parliamentarians I would hope to see the CPA involved in those

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discussions. With trade deals in place for the likes of whisky and

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Northern Ireland products, can the minister say he uses the success of

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the long life dairy supplied to dairies across the world? Well, Mr

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Speaker when I returned to Taiwan, when I held talks with the Taiwan

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authorities in September, agricultural produce was at the

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centre of talks. We talked about pork exports, we talked about

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poultry exports and we mentioned, made some progress on Scottish

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whisky. Taiwan is Scottish's third largest global market. We made some

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important progress on seeking Scottish whisky being certified by

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Taiwan. I know a lot of businesses focus on the China market for

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obvious reasons. When I led a delegation as a party in September

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to Taiwan I witnessed a vibrant economy. Does he agree if British

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businesses ignore Taiwan they are missing a trick? I totally agree

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with my honourable friend. In fact he and I were in Taiwan at roughly

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the same time back in September. I applaud the work that he does for

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the APPG, for Taiwan. Taiwan has a long-standing open market to UK

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goods and services. We need to make sure that we work hard to remove the

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few remaining barriers there are. That was the purpose of the talks in

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September. I think the message from this House should go out loud and

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clear to British businesses that Taiwan is a very good place for them

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to do their business. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Does my

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honourable friend see any reason why this will not continue after we

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leave the EU? Mr Speaker... Thank you, Mr Speaker. Number six.

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The South-West connects companies in Cornwall across the world. Cornish

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companies in all sectors can access a full range of department for

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international trade services. We have launched the great dot gove

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website. New Cornish exportses step into the place and help compete in

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high growth markets. There's been a flurry of businesses producing food,

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drink and other goods. There's no doubt about the quality of their

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produce. Very few of these products, food and drink go beyond Cornish

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borders, let alone overseas. Will the minister accept an invitation to

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meet with these producers and help them expand their markets? As my

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Question number seven. Mr Speaker, I launched a trade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:21:37.:21:39.

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

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

:21:44.:21:49.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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British New Zealand business asoishation reaches its --

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association reaches its centenary. I have experience of the warmth

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

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

:22:33.:22:37.

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

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

:22:42.:22:43.

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

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

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

:22:55.:23:00.

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

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

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

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

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

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on sheep meat and increased market access for New Zealand as

:23:25.:23:28.

potentially fatal to our sheep farmers. How will the minister

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

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

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

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

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

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promoting exports, serving the why, maximising opportunities for wealth

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creation, including through overseas direct investment, to support the

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current account and negotiate the best trading framework for the UK

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

:24:17.:24:21.

Mcclarn will open a ?50 million manufacturing plant in Sheffield

:24:22.:24:23.

which will create 200 new jobs. Given how desperate the

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

:24:39.:24:42.

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

:24:43.:24:47.

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

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

:24:54.:24:57.

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

:24:58.:25:03.

actually depressing investment opportunities is the threat of

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

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

:25:17.:25:21.

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

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

:25:26.:25:28.

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

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

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

:25:41.:25:44.

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

:25:45.:25:50.

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

:25:51.:25:54.

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

:25:55.:25:58.

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

:25:59.:26:03.

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

:26:04.:26:08.

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

:26:09.:26:14.

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

:26:15.:26:18.

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

:26:19.:26:25.

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

:26:26.:26:29.

for negotiating is an international trade deals following Brexit, what

:26:30.:26:35.

assurances can the Secretary of State can be House that

:26:36.:26:38.

parliamentarians will have the full opportunity to scrutinise such trade

:26:39.:26:44.

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

:26:45.:26:49.

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

:26:50.:26:54.

hour debate in committee room ten following the proper procedures set

:26:55.:26:58.

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

:26:59.:27:10.

anything, yet in the Scottish Parliament yesterday they voted

:27:11.:27:12.

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

:27:13.:27:15.

that has been debated for eight that has been debated for eight

:27:16.:27:22.

years in the space of 24 hours. Many Cornishmen and women emigrated to

:27:23.:27:25.

seek work in the New Zealand in the late 19th century. Will my

:27:26.:27:28.

honourable friend now support other great Cornish exports, our wonderful

:27:29.:27:38.

produce, such as Cornish side produced in my constituency? It is

:27:39.:27:42.

good to see the far west of the country is being well represented on

:27:43.:27:49.

a one line whip. There are fantastic products coming from her

:27:50.:27:55.

constituency, with many award-winning brands. It is the job

:27:56.:28:01.

of the Department of International trade to push exports from Cornwall

:28:02.:28:08.

to the four corners of the globe. When I read to the Secretary of

:28:09.:28:12.

State in November to asked for an investigation into his department

:28:13.:28:16.

was Mac support for any British businesses engaging corrupt

:28:17.:28:19.

practices, he replied saying his department had no power to conduct

:28:20.:28:22.

such an investigation. Last week after the publicity surrounding

:28:23.:28:28.

Rolls-Royce's deferred prosecution, he announced precisely such an

:28:29.:28:33.

investigation. When did the powers of his department change? One will

:28:34.:28:37.

enquiry report back and why will he -- and well he explained why he has

:28:38.:28:41.

not complied with the principles of the OECD anti-bribery and

:28:42.:28:47.

corruption? Rolls-Royce has made it clear it will not tolerate improper

:28:48.:28:54.

business of any sort. They continue to operate with the Serious Fraud

:28:55.:28:57.

Office and we await the final outcome. It would not be proper to

:28:58.:29:06.

comment before that. The details of the statements... To contribute the

:29:07.:29:26.

trend of south-west transporting, a large company has won a contract to

:29:27.:29:34.

provide technology to Indonesia. While his department work with me to

:29:35.:29:39.

produce a short story to capture the story and to encourage other SMEs?

:29:40.:29:46.

I'm sure my honourable friend had something to do with that.

:29:47.:29:53.

Absolutely. We would all be delighted to help in any way we can

:29:54.:30:03.

to help promote this investment. A hard Tory Brexit will be damaging

:30:04.:30:07.

for the Scottish aerospace industry which contributes more than 130

:30:08.:30:12.

million to the Scottish economy. Will assurances be provided that the

:30:13.:30:16.

Scottish aerospace sector will have barrier free access to the European

:30:17.:30:21.

single market? It has been the very clear aim of the government to

:30:22.:30:26.

ensure tariff and barrier free access once we leave the European

:30:27.:30:30.

Union and that's what we intend to negotiate. The Scottish aerospace

:30:31.:30:35.

industry will be stronger for being represented by all of the United

:30:36.:30:40.

Kingdom. Does he agree with me that company registration using a company

:30:41.:30:45.

's house type model is important to promote the economies of developing

:30:46.:30:49.

companies seeking foreign direct investment and it's also good news

:30:50.:30:53.

for the UK financial services sector that will follow on from such a

:30:54.:30:59.

scheme? My honourable friend makes an important general point in a

:31:00.:31:08.

specific question. One we have an open trading system, it is a win-

:31:09.:31:14.

win. The economies can benefit from sharing the same system. How many

:31:15.:31:24.

employees have the Civil Service recruited. We are adding 50 extra

:31:25.:31:31.

staff to our trade policy group and will continue to do so. We will be

:31:32.:31:37.

increasing the numbers as we look at our WTO numbers and our obligations

:31:38.:31:43.

there. Also one we look to the FTA is that we have. The current number

:31:44.:31:47.

of 200 will be augmented as we go forward. -- FTAs. We take an ongoing

:31:48.:32:05.

and continuous interest in the still sector. It is obviously a sector

:32:06.:32:10.

facing difficulty at the moment that the low global steel price, but we

:32:11.:32:15.

do see a good future for UK steel and the Department of International

:32:16.:32:18.

Trade looks forward to taking part in a hollow government approach to

:32:19.:32:23.

make sure that UK steel is sold the board. Order. Urgent question.

:32:24.:32:28.

Yvette Cooper. To of the Home Secretary to make a statement on the

:32:29.:32:33.

government 's decision to close the scheme for child refugees. Secretary

:32:34.:32:44.

of State. We have pledged over ?2.3 billion in

:32:45.:33:00.

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

:33:01.:33:04.

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

:33:05.:33:08.

hosting, supporting and protecting the most vulnerable children

:33:09.:33:13.

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

:33:14.:33:17.

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

:33:18.:33:23.