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

We have staff in post in all the markets where we are attempting to transition these deals. An enormous amount of internal resource has been applied to what we in the Department call TAC—trade agreement continuity. Indeed, we have taken resource out of parts of the other workstreams we do to concentrate on exactly this issue. We have been negotiating on all these agreements, not just the larger ones. There is of course a financial incentive to concentrate on the larger ones, for the sake of our own businesses and for the sake of employees and families who want to put food on their table. At the same time, however, there are small businesses, as I know perfectly well, that trade under the preferences enjoyed through EPAs. There are also developmental reasons why we want to continue those arrangements, because it is the right thing to do, and the hon. Lady may be reassured that we are putting effort into all these agreements.