Draft EU-Canada Trade Agreement Order

Part of Food Advertising (Protection of Children from Targeting) – in the House of Commons at 2:13 pm on 26th June 2018.

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Photo of James Cleverly James Cleverly Deputy Chair, Conservative Party 2:13 pm, 26th June 2018

I am not giving way. We have so little time.

CETA is the first major trade agreement signed by the EU since the one with South Korea in 2011. It is therefore entirely appropriate to welcome its arrival. This morning, I had breakfast with Stephen Harper, the former Prime Minister of Canada. He reinforced the point made by Canada’s current Prime Minister, who has said that a UK-Canada trade agreement would allow a larger and—this is a Canadianism rather than a British turn of phrase—“more impactful” trade relationship than the current EU agreement. Just this week, we have heard reports that Italy is now expressing concerns about the ratification of CETA.

This debate provides us with an opportunity to welcome CETA and the work that our own Department for International Trade, led by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, has done to forge relationships between the UK and Canada, and more widely. Most importantly, it gives us the opportunity to be vocal and passionate proponents of free trade and the good work that it does. We must not be tempted by the siren song of protectionism. We remember from Greek mythology what happened to those who were seduced by the song of the sirens: they sailed on to the rocks and their ships were dashed to pieces. They floundered and drowned. We must not let that happen to us. We must embrace free trade and we must welcome the CETA agreement.