UK/US Trade Agreement: SMEs

International Trade – in the House of Commons on 5th March 2020.

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Photo of Katherine Fletcher Katherine Fletcher Conservative, South Ribble

What recent assessment she has made of the potential economic benefits to small and medium-sized enterprises of a trade agreement with the US.

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

Some 30,000 small and medium-sized enterprises already trade with the United States. In the new free trade agreement, we will be asking for a dedicated SME chapter that removes customs red tape, does more stuff online and makes it much easier for our fantastic small businesses to trade with the United States.

Photo of Katherine Fletcher Katherine Fletcher Conservative, South Ribble

Many businesses in South Ribble stand to benefit hugely from a free trade agreement with the USA—not least Leyland Exports, a commercial vehicle and silicone hose specialist. Does the Secretary of State agree that we must push hard to secure a free trade deal that benefits businesses of all sizes in all regions, and supports supply chains?

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities

My hon. Friend is right. I understand that Leyland Exports can face up to 25% tariffs on the export of goods vehicles to the United States, and 5% tariffs on its exports to Australia. In the free trade agreements we are looking for from the United States and Australia, one of our key asks will be to get rid of those tariffs, and to make it much easier for the car industry—by reducing testing and red tape—to ensure that we can get our fantastic exports into those markets.