Trade Liberalisation

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 1st May 2003.

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Photo of Patricia Hewitt Patricia Hewitt Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry 11:30 am, 1st May 2003

The hon. Gentleman may remember that when the United States imposed tariffs last year on steel imports, including those from the United Kingdom, I condemned them roundly in the House and outside it. The steel tariffs are clearly unlawful under World Trade Organisation rules and I hope very much that the American Administration—I have said this to them privately—will not appeal against the ruling that found the tariffs contrary to WTO rules but will instead remove them at the earliest opportunity.

If I may, I shall send the hon. Gentleman a copy of my recent speech in Brussels setting out precisely the Government's views on the need to create a framework of rules for trade that is fair as well as free and tackling the highly damaging protectionism in Europe, especially in relation to agriculture, and in the United States, where it has arisen in relation to steel.