Steel Safeguards

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:43 pm on 29th June 2022.

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Photo of Marion Fellows Marion Fellows SNP Whip, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Disabilities) 12:43 pm, 29th June 2022

Scotland’s whisky producers have already suffered significantly from Trump-era tariffs of 25% and the current 100% tariff imposed by the Indian Government. The prospect of retaliatory tariffs from India and South Korea is alarming, especially when the Asia-Pacific makes up a quarter of Scotland’s whisky export markets. What is the Secretary of State doing to mitigate the likelihood of retaliatory tariffs that will harm Scotland’s whisky industry?

I am not going to repeat the question asked of the Deputy Prime Minister at PMQs today, but could the reason that the Secretary of State is sitting here be that she has managed to avoid scrutiny in the International Trade Committee? The House has known for weeks that the deadline for renewing steel safeguards is tomorrow. Why have the Government waited until the dying hours of this timeline before coming to the House with a decision? This does not paint a picture of a long-term organisation and strategy that is working well within the Department for International Trade. In the light of this move, and of the prospect of retaliatory tariffs from those countries I have already mentioned, the Government must now move fast to ensure that the UK can improve the level of steel exports to the EU to make up for this. Is the Department for International Trade formulating a plan to increase steel exports to EU markets? Finally, can I ask the Secretary of State if she is going to speak to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and look at the price of making steel in this country? That issue has been going on as long as I have been here—seven years—and even before that.