Customs duties

Part of European Union (Withdrawal) Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:45 pm on 20th December 2017.

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Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 5:45 pm, 20th December 2017

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that clarification. He will know that, under the WTO foundations of the world trading system, there are arrangements for the mutual recognition of sanitary and phytosanitary checks and other matters.

The second point I should make about my hon. Friend’s new clause 72 is that, in relation to any new inspections that may be required after the UK leaves the EU, the Government are considering what controls or surveillance will be required on imported food once we have left the EU. Where Ministers decide to introduce statutory inspection fees, Parliament should have the opportunity to consider the approach to be taken on a case-by-case basis. Where port authorities undertake additional checks on food, on its importation into the UK, for which there is not a statutory charge, decisions will continue to be taken on the basis of the need to balance costs between general and local taxation. We consider that the Government must remain free to set fees and charges in a manner that reflects these considerations. I hope that this provides my hon. Friend with sufficient reassurance.

Finally, on a separate issue, my hon. Friend asked earlier in our debates whether courts would be able to consider all material in relation to retained EU law when deciding such legislation’s meaning and effect. I am happy to confirm that this is the position under the Bill. The Government will place a letter in the Library of the House setting this out in more detail, and I am putting that on the record now to enable us to do so.