Examination of Witness

Part of Trade Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:51 am on 16th June 2020.

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Roy Freeland:

No, I am not a member of the FSB. However, I was a member of the Rail Supply Group council running the SME workstream, and of the Rail Industry Association SME group, so I am very familiar with SMEs’ issues. Indeed, I consulted with the Federation of Small Businesses prior to giving this evidence.

The particular problems for the SMEs that will be affected by the Bill include the requirement for membership of the GPA. Large multinationals can get round the GPA by simply setting up factories in the respective countries. A lot of them in the rail industry have already done that. SMEs do not have that capacity. I am slightly concerned that SMEs do not have the resource to fight the sort of legal battles that are clearly going on in the current version of trade remedies, and they need some support there. Those are particular problems that SMEs can face, but they absolutely need the GPA.