Trade Remedy Measures: Uk Interests

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:12 pm on 25th February 2019.

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Photo of Liam Fox Liam Fox The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade 5:12 pm, 25th February 2019

We got there just before Brexit, Mr Deputy Speaker.

The hon. Gentleman did not say very much about trade remedies, so there is very little to respond to. In fact, it is a great example of “If you haven’t got anything to say, don’t say anything”. The Government’s policy is quite clearly correct and is supported by what he calls producers but I call employers. I know it was a slip of the tongue and that he did not mean that his policy is to leave the UK—I am sure that is the policy of the SNP.

The hon. Gentleman says that I want a less regulated economy. Yes, of course I want a less regulated economy, but it is against the rules of the WTO to impose regulations and trade remedies where there is no UK production or where we do not meet the threshold. Is he actually suggesting that we maintain remedies where there is no UK business and industry to protect, to the detriment of our consumers who will pay higher prices without protecting anything in the UK itself?

The hon. Gentleman talks as though cheaper prices are somehow a bad thing. I would love to see an improvement in the disposable income of people across all income ranges. If we can do that by removing tariffs—which are effectively taxes—by procedures such as this, we should be willing to do so. In fact, this is one of the real advantages of our ability to leave the European Union—to set our own tariffs.

The hon. Gentleman asked about the Trade Bill. Report stage in the House of Lords will be on Monday 4 March. He does not seem to understand the consultation we have had. We have engaged widely with stakeholders. He said correctly that we have spoken to those who produce these products, but we have spoken to those who are involved further downstream and whose costs may be reduced by what we are doing. We have spoken to trade associations, in particular UK Steel and the British Ceramic Confederation. We have had bilaterals, roundtables and technical meetings. We have written to all MPs twice, which one would have thought covered a very wide range of consultation if MPs are doing what they should be doing in their constituencies.

On the European Union, if we go into an implementation period, all trade remedies will be rolled over and we will adopt any new European trade remedies during that period.