To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made on new trade deals with (1) Indonesia, (2) Pakistan, (3) Nigeria, (4) Bangladesh, and (5) Japan; how many visits to each of those countries have been made since 23 June 2016 by ministers and officials of the Department for International Trade; and what was the total cost of those visits.
The United Kingdom cannot negotiate its own trade agreements whilst it is still a member of the European Union.
As the UK leaves the European Union, the Government recognises the need for a smooth transition in our existing trading arrangements. Once we have left, the UK and Japan will establish a new economic partnership based on the final terms of the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement. The UK-Japan Trade and Investment Working Group, established last year, is tasked to deliver on this commitment and met for the second time in May.
The Government has introduced legislation which enables the UK to put in place a trade preference scheme for developing countries which will, as a minimum, provide the same level of access as the EU’s scheme. Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria and Bangladesh are currently beneficiaries of the EU scheme, and we will seek continuity in these existing agreements as we leave.
Since 23 June 2016, Ministers from the Department for International Trade (DIT) have visited Japan five times, Indonesia twice and Pakistan once. DIT’s Permanent Secretary (Antonia Romeo) and Second Permanent Secretary (Crawford Falconer) have each visited Japan once. Visits to these countries by other DIT officials is not recorded centrally.
Details of expenditure for DIT Ministerial travel overseas is published on the Gov.uk website on a quarterly basis: www.gov.uk/government/publications/dit-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel-january-to-march-2018