EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement

Part of Food Advertising (Protection of Children from Targeting) – in the House of Commons at 3:29 pm on 26th June 2018.

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Photo of Stewart Hosie Stewart Hosie Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Trade) 3:29 pm, 26th June 2018

I am saying that we see absolutely nothing in the Japan deal that would cause us to vote against it, which, on balance, is a good thing.

We very much welcome this. There was a bit of a bun fight in the previous debate on CETA, but this is a much calmer affair, and it allows me to speak for far less time, which makes me very happy indeed. I agreed with much of what the previous Minister, Greg Hands, said about global free trade. I was also very taken by the example he gave of Harley-Davidson, which is important in terms of the Japan deal and other trade deals. We have seen the US tariffs on imported steel and aluminium increase Harley-Davidson’s costs in the States by around $30 million. We have seen the reaction to President Trump’s tariffs lead to an increase in the cost of an exported Harley-Davidson to Europe of around $2,500. These tariffs in and out are bad, and they are counterproductive. I hope that people get calm quickly and that these things are wound back, because tariffs do not protect jobs. Tariffs destroy trade and ultimately weaken jobs. [Interruption.] I am glad that the Conservatives are saying that this is an excellent speech.

I am going to say that again in a different way, in the context of the Japan agreement, by quoting the Front Benchers’ favourite European, Jean-Claude Juncker. [Interruption.] I thank the Minister for that marvellous introduction. Jean-Claude Juncker said:

“The step we are taking today paves the way for our companies and citizens to start benefitting from the full potential of the Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan already in the coming year.”

He went on to say—this is the philosophical bit where there is pretty much broad agreement, apart from the proto-Trumpian economists on the Labour Front Bench—that the agreement

“sends a clear and unambiguous message that we stand together against protectionism and in defence of multilateralism. This is more important than ever.”