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Leaving the Eu: Negotiations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:02 pm on 10th July 2018.

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Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable Leader of the Liberal Democrats 2:02 pm, 10th July 2018

The European Union over many years has developed a sophisticated rules of origin system in order to develop an answer to precisely the problems presented by the complex nature of modern trade. They are quite right to say that in an environment of uncertainty, there is very little merit in pursuing an agreement.

The other major disadvantage of what the Government are proposing is, as several Members pointed out yesterday, the complete neglect of the services sector. It is not just 80% of the British economy, but includes extremely important industries—notably financial services, but also creative industries, the digital sector and entertainment, and of course much manufacturing happens through services exports. Rolls-Royce earns as much from its maintenance contracts as it does from selling its engines. When we send cars to the European Union, we sell them with a package attached to financial services. It is not at all clear how the Government propose to unscramble those very complicated relationships.