Written Statements

Monday 21st June 2021

(11 months ago)

Written Statements
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Monday 21 June 2021

Myanmar

Monday 21st June 2021

(11 months ago)

Written Statements
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Dominic Raab Portrait The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs and First Secretary of State (Dominic Raab)
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The UK condemns the coup in Myanmar in the strongest possible terms and we continue to stand with the people of Myanmar as they face increased levels of intimidation, violence, suppression, and arbitrary detention from the military regime.

The UK has been at the forefront of the international response, most recently securing a statement on Myanmar in the G7 Leader’s communiqué on 13 June. We also secured a G7 commitment to prevent flow of arms to Myanmar, a commitment which was echoed in the UN General Assembly resolution of 18 June.

Today we are announcing further measures to target the military and its financial interests.

Sanctions

The UK has worked in close collaboration with partners to implement effective and targeted sanctions. On 29 April we laid new Myanmar (Sanctions) Regulations 2021, to give us broader powers to target the Myanmar military and its business interests.

Today, the UK is announcing its sixth tranche of sanctions since the coup and the second under our new regulations. New designations will target Myanmar Timber Enterprise (MTE) and Myanmar Pearl Enterprise (MPE), two state-owned entities in Myanmar’s extractive sector, which generate millions of pounds in revenue for the junta. We are also designating the State Administration Council (SAC), the junta’s governing body, to send a clear message to the regime that we oppose the coup and associated human rights violations.

These designations build on the UK’s continued efforts to target the military’s economic infrastructure and revenue streams used to finance brutal human rights violations and repression of the civilian population. On 17 May we announced the designation of Myanmar Gems Enterprise under our new regulations. We have also listed Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited and Myanmar Economic Corporation, two military conglomerates under our Global Human Rights regime.

Trade review

Since February we have conducted an extensive series of engagements with UK businesses and trade bodies conducting business within Myanmar, and have undertaken due diligence on the operations of the Department for International Trade (DIT) and our partners in the country.

We will retain our suspension on trade promotion and are reiterating that UK businesses should not enter into relationships that benefit the military and must remain compliant with the UK sanctions regime. Further, we expect British businesses to adhere to and work with suppliers who comply with standards of responsible business conduct, including respecting human rights.

Through this review we have determined that no sector can be classified as completely free from military associations and that some, such as the extractive industries, have a particularly high level of association. Sectors in which DIT has historically offered trade support do not fall into this category of high-level exposure.

Equally, we recognise that the complete withdrawal of all international businesses from Myanmar would deepen the collapse of the economy, risk increasing regional instability, and above all negatively impact the most vulnerable in society.

The overseas business risk guidance, published today, provides further clarity on issues raised by businesses throughout the trade review process, recognising the complex and unique challenges organisations face in these circumstances. In particular, we have made it clear that UK businesses procuring natural resources from Myanmar must do enhanced due diligence on their supply chain. DIT and embassy staff in Yangon remain available to assist UK businesses in remaining compliant with their obligations.

[HCWS106]

Progress on Large Civil Aircraft Disputes

Monday 21st June 2021

(11 months ago)

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Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Secretary of State for International Trade (Elizabeth Truss)
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On Thursday 17 June I struck a historic deal with the US on the Airbus-Boeing disputes in a major win for both the aerospace sector and for industries such as Scotch whisky.

After talks with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, both sides have agreed to suspend retaliatory tariffs for five years and co-operate more closely on tackling unfair trade practices by non-market economies.

These 17-year disputes, the longest-running in the history of the World Trade Organisation, have seen damaging retaliatory tariffs levied on products on both sides of the Atlantic due to disagreements over support for large civil aircraft.

The disagreement has hit industries such as cashmere, machinery and single malt Scotch whisky that employ tens of thousands of people across the UK. The Scotch Whisky Association estimates the tariffs have cost the sector hundreds of millions of pounds in lost revenue.

The UK, which was involved as a member of the EU, took the decision to deescalate these disputes by unilaterally suspending retaliatory tariffs on the US at the start of this year, which encouraged the US to agree to a four-month suspension of tariffs while both sides negotiated a longer-term arrangement.

The UK and US will now work together to put the agreement into practice and strengthen co-operation in the large civil aircraft sector.

This deal marks our joint intention for the UK and US to:

Not impose countermeasures for five years.

Establish a working group on large civil aircraft that is led by the respective Minister responsible for trade.

Provide financing to a large civil aircraft producer for the production or development of large civil aircraft on market terms.

Provide research and development funding for large civil aircraft: through an open and transparent process; making the results widely available; and not providing research and development funding, or other support, to producers of large civil aircraft in a way that would cause negative effects to the other side.

Collaborate on tackling non-market practices of third countries that may impact on their large civil aircraft industries.

[HCWS104]

Northern Ireland: New Decade, New Approach Agreement

Monday 21st June 2021

(11 months ago)

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Brandon Lewis Portrait The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Brandon Lewis)
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The Government are committed to the delivery of the New Decade, New Approach agreement in full. It was the basis upon which the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement institutions were restored. Full implementation of New Decade, New Approach remains important to the ongoing stability of those institutions. Recognising Northern Ireland’s rich diversity of identities and languages, it is essential that the balanced cultural package the parties agreed to is implemented in full.

If the Executive have not progressed the legislation for the identity, language and culture package in the New Decade, New Approach agreement by the end of September, the UK Government will take the legislation through the UK Parliament. The New Decade, New Approach agreement was endorsed by the UK Parliament, and we will introduce the legislation that delivers on these commitments in October 2021, if necessary. This will provide for the creation of an Office for Identity and Cultural Expression, an Ulster Scots Commissioner, and an Irish language Commissioner.

[HCWS105]