EU Free Trade Agreements

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:40 am on 24th January 2019.

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Photo of George Hollingbery George Hollingbery Minister of State (International Trade) 10:40 am, 24th January 2019

I am sorry that this is slightly like “Groundhog Day”, Mr Speaker, but I will repeat what I have said before. We are confident that we will roll over a majority of these agreements. We are working to try to ensure that they are all rolled over by exit day. There are clear indications that in some cases that is going to be challenging. Let me be absolutely clear: if I used the term, “shopping list”, and that was deemed in any way pejorative about any of these important deals, I wish to withdraw and rephrase it. It was simply shorthand for saying that there are a great many of them and they are all important to us. As I just said, EPAs are as important to us as the largest deals, simply because we understand that we have a role in the world in development and understand the importance of these deals to those countries. We also understand the number of jobs and businesses that rely on these preferences. That is another reason why we are so keen to get as many of the transition deals across as we can.