Trade Bill - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:36 pm on 11th September 2018.

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Photo of Baroness Kramer Baroness Kramer Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Treasury and Economy) 4:36 pm, 11th September 2018

This is not a scare story. I think the Government will be able to confirm the description that I have just given. I will make one, more general comment but I do not want to go on because of time. Different countries have different patterns of production and trade. Over the past 40 years the UK has integrated into a supply chain, just as the Northern Ireland economy has integrated across those borders. I cannot speak about the Swiss because I do not know that economy in detail. It requires detailed knowledge of the specific economies. We are part of a crochet, deeply embedded into it, just as many of the supply-chain countries are, with constant trading across borders within the EU.

Even under the Chequers proposal, rules of origin certificates are required on every good. I have talked before about the small company that sells party supplies across Europe. It would be £30 every time they sent out a shipment of cups, £30 for the plates, £30 for the paper napkins, £30 for the tablecloths—you can go on with those kinds of numbers and you quickly realise why for many companies this is a totally destructive additional cost, which changes the game completely. I ask the Minister: can we please have some comprehensive answers? Can we have the impact assessment of what this will do to our businesses as they are today—not the fictitious new businesses that may develop in the next 20 years which will abandon the kind of trade that I have described and specialise in something different, perhaps more along a Swiss pattern, but the real businesses that exist today, in which people have invested and by which people are employed?