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Leaving the EU: Trade

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th December 2017.

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Photo of Sheryll Murray Sheryll Murray Conservative, South East Cornwall 12:00 am, 13th December 2017

What assessment he has made of Wales’s trading opportunities since the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales

Figures show that exports from Wales grew by 19% last year. Welsh businesses are also looking to markets outside the European Union, where exports grew by 23% over the same period. I will continue to support businesses in Wales to help them make the most of the new opportunities.

Photo of Sheryll Murray Sheryll Murray Conservative, South East Cornwall

In north Wales, like in South East Cornwall, there are amazing businesses that are the lifeblood of the local economy, from first-class tourist accommodation to delicious food and drink producers. Does my right hon. Friend agree that Brexit will provide additional trading opportunities for them and for companies across Wales?

Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales

My hon. Friend is a strong champion for Cornwall, and Cornwall is already responding, through her leadership, to the new opportunities that leaving the European Union provides. Wales is rightly doing the same. Exports to areas outside the European Union are growing at a much sharper rate than exports to the European Union, and Wales is well ahead of the UK average.

Photo of Chris Elmore Chris Elmore Opposition Whip (Commons)

One of the trading opportunities we already have is at Ford in Bridgend, which is at risk of closure after Jaguar Land Rover’s contract ended early. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy met me at Ford yesterday. What is the Secretary of State for Wales doing to help to secure those jobs for the future?

Photo of Alun Cairns Alun Cairns The Secretary of State for Wales

The hon. Gentleman raises an important point about Ford in Bridgend. I met the unions recently, and I speak to Ford on a regular basis. I am pleased that the Welsh Government responded to Ford’s suggestion that I join their working group. We are determined to work together to come up with the best outcome that delivers long-term, sustainable jobs at the Ford plant in Bridgend.