Future Relationship Between the UK and the EU

Part of Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:52 pm on 18th July 2018.

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Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union 6:52 pm, 18th July 2018

I cannot. I am afraid I do not have the time to give way.

High standards in food and product safety are something all our constituents value. As we saw around debates on the TTIP negotiations, our constituents are unlikely to want any trade deal or arrangement that lowers standards. As my hon. Friend Mr Baron pointed out, both the Government and Opposition parties were elected on a promise that we would be able to strike international trade deals. That is a very important point. Our proposals, unlike those from the Opposition, will allow the UK to negotiate new international trade agreements in line with our priorities and interests, including on goods, services and investment. This could include arrangements with the United States, Australia and New Zealand. The UK will explore accession to the comprehensive and progressive agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, consistent with our future relationship with the EU and domestic priorities. In that context, my right hon. Friend the Trade Secretary recently announced the first public consultations on our future trade agreement negotiations with global partners, which we were not able to do in the TTIP context because that was a negotiation conducted on our behalf by the European Union. I sat on the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee with the hon. Member for Sheffield Central when we scrutinised those proposals at one remove.

I have talked a little about goods. I want to address the important point on services raised by my hon. Friend Robert Neill. We want a comprehensive but different deal on services and digital, which allows us to exercise greater regulatory freedom in an area where the UK is a world leader. This will not involve adopting a common rulebook for services, as proposed for goods. Instead, we are seeking an ambitious deal for services, which will, among other things, minimise new trade barriers to service provision, allow UK firms to establish in the EU and cover mutual recognition of professional qualifications. On financial services, we are proposing a new economic and regulatory partnership in financial services. That makes sense because, unlike goods, services are not affected by frictions at the border. They are not subject to tariffs or customs. Unlike the vast majority of manufactured goods and agri-food products, most services are not subject to specific standards and regulatory frameworks. The UK is a world leader in services and in the regulation of services. I suspect we will continue to be so.

The Government’s proposals deliver a balance—Hilary Benn called for a balance—that respects the result of the referendum and the decision of the UK public to take back control of the UK’s laws, borders and money, while supporting growth and maintaining security co-operation. Importantly, they safeguard the constitutional and economic integrity of the UK while reclaiming the UK’s sovereignty. They protect our economic interests, supporting supply chains and jobs all over the UK, and delivering global opportunities for trade.

The UK will leave the European Union in March. The proposals in the White Paper mean that as we leave we will be a close friend, ally and partner of the EU and a major market for it. Our economy will continue to be strong.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That this House
has considered the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.