There have been 14 exchanges between Elizabeth Truss and Department for International Trade
|Mon 14th September 2020||Japan Free Trade Agreement||87 interactions (4,086 words)|
|Thu 3rd September 2020||Oral Answers to Questions||66 interactions (1,567 words)|
|Wed 24th June 2020||International Trade (Ministerial Corrections)||2 interactions (101 words)|
|Thu 18th June 2020||Oral Answers to Questions||70 interactions (1,733 words)|
|Wed 17th June 2020||Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (Accession)||80 interactions (4,050 words)|
|Wed 20th May 2020||Trade Bill||3 interactions (1,884 words)|
|Tue 12th May 2020||Oral Answers to Questions||34 interactions (1,111 words)|
|Thu 5th March 2020||Oral Answers to Questions||69 interactions (1,778 words)|
|Thu 5th March 2020||International Women’s Day||20 interactions (2,223 words)|
|Mon 2nd March 2020||UK-US Trade Deal||68 interactions (3,670 words)|
|Thu 30th January 2020||Global Britain||12 interactions (1,575 words)|
|Thu 23rd January 2020||Oral Answers to Questions||63 interactions (1,722 words)|
|Thu 17th October 2019||Oral Answers to Questions||101 interactions (2,642 words)|
|Thu 26th September 2019||Arms Export Licences (Saudi Arabia) (Urgent Question)||56 interactions (2,269 words)|
I thank the Secretary of State for advance sight of her statement and congratulate her on reaching this agreement. It is a much-needed relief for all those UK companies that would have seen their trade with Japan revert to World Trade Organisation terms if the agreement had not been reached by the end of the year. It is also a welcome benefit at a time of great economic uncertainty for the UK’s digital and tech sectors, and for other key exporters, which will benefit from greater access, faster tariff reductions or stronger geographical indication protections under this agreement than they enjoyed under the previous EU-Japan agreement. In the absence of a treaty text and a full updated impact assessment, there is much about the UK-Japan agreement that we still do not know and will not know until those documents are published. Nevertheless, I hope that the Secretary of State can answer some initial questions today.
First and foremost, will the Secretary of State tell us, in billions of pounds and percentages of growth, what benefits this agreement will produce for UK trade and GDP over and above the forecast benefits of simply rolling over the existing EU-Japan deal? I was glad to hear her refer to consultation with the farming sector. Can she tell us what benefits the sector will derive from this deal if the EU reaches its tariff rate quota limit for agricultural products, and how that will compare with the benefits that the sector was forecast to derive from the EU-Japan deal? Will she also tell us what the impact of Friday’s agreement will be on the UK aerospace sector relative to the impact of the EU-Japan deal?
Let me turn to three specific issues. Given that there has been lots of discussion about Stilton, can the Secretary of State tell us exactly how the treatment of Stilton differs under the deal that she has agreed compared with its existing treatment under the EU-Japan deal? Given the current debate on state aid, can she confirm that the provisions on Government subsidies that she has agreed with Japan are more restrictive than the provisions in the EU-Canada deal, which No. 10 has said is the maximum it is prepared to accept in any UK trade deal with Brussels? On a similar subject, what provisions, if any, are included in the UK-Japan agreement relating to public procurement, and are they also consistent with the Government’s current negotiating position on an EU trade deal?
On the subject of Brexit, will the Secretary of State simply agree with me that, as welcome and necessary as this deal with Japan is, it is nothing like as important in terms of our global trade as reaching a deal to maintain free trade with the European Union? Our trade with Japan is worth 2.2% of our current global trade. That does not come anywhere near the 47% of trade that we have with Europe under the Government’s best-case scenario. The deal they signed on Friday will increase our trade with Japan by a little less than half in 15 years’ time. That is nothing compared with what we will lose in just four months if we do not get the deal with Europe that this Government have promised. That is why Nissan and every other Japanese company operating in Britain have told us that the deal that will determine the future of the investment and the jobs that they bring to our communities is not the one that we signed with Japan, but the one we sign with Europe.
I am glad that the Secretary of State has committed to a further debate on the agreement, given that there are many more questions to ask, but frankly there is no point in having that debate if Parliament does not have the right to vote. Will the Secretary of State guarantee today that once the treaty text and all the impact assessments have been published for proper scrutiny, she will bring the agreement back for a debate and vote, in Government time, just as will be done in the Japanese Parliament? It surely cannot be the case that this House will have less of a right to vote on a self-proclaimed historic deal agreed by the Secretary of State than will be enjoyed by our counterparts in Japan. May I ask her today to guarantee a vote, and to make it a precedent that will apply to all the other historic agreements she mentioned in her statement and that we hope are still to come?
I congratulate the Secretary of State on this heroic and historic new trade deal, and on proving the doubters wrong yet again. Under the EU-Japan deal, there were just seven geographical indicators. Under this new agreement, she has managed to potentially secure another 70, including west country lamb and west country beef. Can she outline how the new deal will benefit beef, lamb and dairy farmers in my constituency?
I congratulate the Secretary of State. I recognise that, although this deal shares many similarities with the EU deal, it goes slightly further in a limited number of areas, not least the geographic indicators. It would be interesting, however, to find out just how many the UK pushed for as part of the EU deal. On the vexed issue of cheese, which is barely mentioned, surprisingly, it would appear from the reading today that all UK manufacturers can do is fulfil unused EU quotas. I welcome what she has said on data, and what has been described as the digital trade chapter is real progress; however, she will want to confirm that, even with that, if all goes according to plan in GDP terms this deal will be worth less than one tenth of 1% of UK GDP—barely denting the losses anticipated from Brexit.
The elephant in the room is the UK’s stated intention to breach international law and to break legally binding treaties. That is important because the Japan deal is primarily significant in paving the way for CPTPP accession. We know the attitude of the United States—that there will be no deal if the UK breaches international law—and the approach of many of our potential CPTPP partners is very similar. Australia, for example, has demonstrated consistent support for a far-reaching system of international law, and has made a valuable contribution towards realising that. It is a country committed to a rules-based international system. This is all about trust, so would it not have been better for winning the big prize of CPTPP accession if the Secretary of State had stood up and announced the withdrawal of the internal market Bill, rather than boasting about very small gains in this Japan deal?
I congratulate my right hon. Friend on achieving this agreement. Free trade, of course, is the key to prosperity for all our constituencies, and it is particularly important and valuable for mine, with the largest port in the country at Immingham. I particularly welcome the mention of the trans-Pacific agreement. Will she outline how she will continue with that agreement and move forward with agreements with countries such as Australia?
We are now heading up to Scotland to Angus Brendan MacNeil, Chair of the Select Committee.
Tapadh leibh; feasgar math, Mr Speaker. First, the Secretary of State made very welcome mention indeed of Stornoway black pudding. She then went on to say that she is delighted about the deal, described it as a major moment and said that she feels this UK-Japan FTA is ambitious. However, the GDP figures show it is worth a seventieth of the deal with the EU—a seventieth of the cost of Brexit—so is getting a deal with the EU not 70 times more important than this admittedly very welcome UK-Japan comprehensive economic partnership agreement? Will the Secretary of State also clarify whether any of this is dependent on EU co-operation or deals, especially on cumulation?
This deal is a great success story. A global—[Inaudible.] I chair the all-party parliamentary group on geographically protected foods. Will my right hon. Friend kindly set out the benefits for—[Inaudible.]
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Once the details of this trade deal are published, the Japanese Parliament will get the opportunity to debate and vote on it. Will the Secretary of State be clear about whether parliamentarians in both Houses of this Parliament will get the same rights as our Japanese colleagues?
From what I have seen of the deal so far, it is a great deal and the Secretary of State is to be congratulated on securing it. Coming out of Brexit, it will do much. However, I note that the deal now goes to the Japanese Parliament, as has been said, for pre-signing approval, but not by law to this Parliament for pre-signing approval. Will my right hon. Friend acknowledge—preferably in the Trade Bill, which is going through the other place—that, post Brexit, the UK needs a modern, relevant, fair and workable scrutiny regime for new FTAs and not just a return to the pre-EU, outdated 1924 Ponsonby rule, which is restricted to ratification?
I note what the Secretary of State said about impact assessments, but what discussions has she had with the Office for Budget Responsibility about whether it will produce a forecast of the impact of the deal, specifically comparing it with WTO trading conditions and what would have happened if we had just rolled over the EU-Japan deal?
I warmly welcome my right hon. Friend’s statement and congratulate her on this agreement, which is really good news. Can she explain how small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the backbone of our British economy, will benefit from this excellent deal?
I thank the Secretary of State for prior sight of her statement. Yes, we also welcome the trade deal, but I have two serious concerns. First, it seems to simply mirror what we have with the EU, and, apart from symbolic wins on things such as Stilton cheese, the Government have failed to leverage any real, meaningful benefits. Also, given that the deal has stricter state aid regulations than the disputed ones in the EU proposals, do the Government actually have a trade strategy?
I, too, congratulate my right hon. Friend on this trade deal. Can she say a little more about how the south-east will benefit from this? It is not just financial services there. She will be aware that the increase in both exports and imports over recent years has been in road transport.
I of course congratulate the Secretary of State on any trade deal, but she has done a deal with Japan, which represents 2% of our trade, in a week when we have probably lost the 15.5% deal we might have had with the United States. On the day when a Japanese company, SoftBank, has sold off one of the jewels in the crown of British technology, is it not shameful that she could not bring herself to mention Arm from Cambridge? Will the people of this country not despair at her not mentioning that?
I congratulate the Secretary of State on securing this deal. I am delighted, as the people of Cornwall will be, that the iconic Cornish pasty and Cornish clotted cream are to be protected, along with many other geographically protected British products. Can she say what further opportunities there will be for Cornish producers to export to Japan as a result of this deal?
I find it absurd that the House is being asked to debate a text that has not been published, because with trade deals, the devil is in the detail. I want to pick up on the point about state aid provisions, because I am curious about this. In today’s Financial Times, it is reported that the UK and Japan
“have agreed to replicate the restrictions on subsidies in the EU-Japan deal that went into effect last year.”
I was involved in that in Brussels, in a previous incarnation, and it goes far beyond what the UK is looking for in the UK-EU trade deal. I listened carefully to the Secretary of State’s response, and she said that it is a “standard” state aid clause, which strikes me as bizarre language, because there are no standard state aid clauses in any trade deals ever anywhere. Has she made the commitment reported in the Financial Times? Will she stand by it, will she resile from it in six months’ time in a limited way or has she dropped the ball?
By now, the whole House will know of my love of the autonomous delivery robots in Milton Keynes. I am assured that they can deliver geographically protected goods such as Stilton and pork pies, but they are also part of the UK’s larger tech industry. Will my right hon. Friend update the House on how our tech businesses will be helped by the data and digital parts of the deal?
Further to the question from the hon. Member for Stirling (Alyn Smith), if the FT article is correct, the Government have, in this deal, signed up to more restrictive conditions on state aid than those being negotiated with the European Union. Will the Secretary of State confirm that the negotiations with the EU are all about deterring it from reaching a deal so that it will walk away, and we can then blame it for no deal and not take the hit that would otherwise be aimed at the Government?
Last year, 277 Welsh businesses exported to Japan. Does the Secretary of State agree that the new tariff reduction in beef represents an exciting opportunity for farmers such as Brian Bown, who is chairman of my local National Farmers Union and is at a cattle auction this afternoon, and Gerald Thomas, who is president of the Farmers’ Union of Wales?
I congratulate my right hon. Friend on securing this free trade agreement with Japan. Will she outline the benefits that she sees it bringing to the economy of north-east Wales?
I would have thought it was impossible to put a line through me, but that is by the bye.
First, I thank the Secretary of State for all that she is doing. Her eagerness to get trade deals the world over is infectious and should encourage everyone in the House. It is an indication of the fact that the global market is anxious to get started with the UK as a trading partner.
I note that there are set to be strong tariff reductions for UK pork and beef exports, with low tariffs for food and drink, and more generous quotas for malt than in the EU-Japan deal. Will the Secretary of State confirm how that will translate for malt for my local whisky producer, Echlinville Distillery in Kircubbin, and for Bushmills whiskey as well? How will it translate for the Northern Ireland pork and beef industries, which provide the best pork and beef in the world—we have that in Northern Ireland and in my constituency? Can we expect an increase in the market for exports to Japan?
The Secretary of State mentioned Nissan; of course, there is an intrinsic link from Nissan to UK steel, which is intrinsically linked into the talks with the United States. Will she guarantee that President Trump’s completely unrealistic and unreasonable section 232 tariffs on UK steel will be removed from the trade negotiations with the United States as a precondition for those negotiations to proceed?
We are very excited in Grimsby about this trade deal, because we feel it will create a huge benefit for our family-owned fish processors, particularly those for flat fish, and for our fish smokehouses of Alfred Enderby. How will this help to improve fisheries?
How long will it be until the UK Government realise that this Japan deal is not as good as is being touted, and then U-turn and renege on it? Should my constituents take the Secretary of State’s word that they will not do so?
I warmly congratulate my right hon. Friend and her ministerial team on securing this deal in such quick order. Wales has a long history of attracting inward investment from Japan, with the first foreign direct investment project from Sony coming to Bridgend back in 1973. However, will she guarantee that the finest lamb in the world—Welsh lamb—will have its geographical indicator protected, so that we can continue our deep trading relationship with Japan?
The north-east has benefited significantly from Japanese investment, so I welcome the continuation of existing trading relationships, which this deal largely represents. However, the Secretary of State will know that for Nissan and for investors more generally, and for jobs in the north-east, the deal that matters is the “oven-ready” one with the European Union. Will she set out precisely what the differences are between the state aid provisions in this Japanese deal and those rejected in the EU deal, apart from the fact that the latter are already in place?
May I join others in congratulating my right hon. Friend on securing such an important deal? I hope she goes on to secure future deals for Britain. May I also encourage her to ensure that this new opportunity is considered in the integrated review, because our economic security and our national security go hand in hand?
May I welcome the progress that was made in relation to geographically protected indicators, a number of which come from the northern isles in relation to this deal? The Financial Times article, to which other Members have referred, does say that David Frost is concerned that the Secretary of State has given away more in relation to level-playing field issues than he is offering to the EU. If that is correct, then that is very serious indeed. Will she commit to publishing the state aid clauses now?
I congratulate my right hon. Friend heartily and her chief trade negotiation adviser who, I think, led this particular negotiation if I recall correctly. I want to welcome the fact that the Government have agreed disciplines to avoid anti-competitive market distortions and subsidies in particular. Does she think that we could offer a similar regime to the EU in order to reassure it that we will be behaving fairly as an independent United Kingdom?
Our total trade last year with Japan was worth £31 billion, which is hugely important, but to put it in perspective, our total trade last year with the Netherlands was three times that amount. Although we all welcome this deal, is the Secretary of State concerned that we have not yet secured our continued free trade with the Netherlands and the other 26 EU member states?
First, I congratulate my right hon. Friend on this fantastic deal, which demonstrates not just Britain’s place in Asia, but Britain’s place on the Asian and American continent as part of CPTPP. I am delighted that she is joining me and the Japanese Defence Minister in praising the CPTPP and encouraging Britain to play a more active part. Will she also, however, urge the Defence Secretary to bring the Japanese into the six eyes, as it will be then?
Based on the British Government’s own best-case scenario figures, am I right in calculating that it will take 71 deals of this nature to make up for what will be lost by pursuing the British Government’s policy of leaving the EU single market and customs union?
Last year, 717 businesses across the west midlands benefited from exporting to Japan, so does my right hon. Friend believe that places such as Birmingham will benefit from this £15 billion boost, which will help create jobs and economic advantages for local people, despite the many protests of the doomsters, gloomsters and doubters opposite, who said it would never happen?
Free global trade is a good thing, but it does pose challenges under our climate change obligations. The Secretary of State has committed to an impact assessment. Will she also commit to have a chapter in there on the climate impacts and what we are doing to mitigate them to the lowest level possible?
May I echo the sentiments on this side of the House and offer my own personal congratulations to the Secretary of State on a great deal? Can my right hon. Friend provide greater detail on how this deal will make it easier for business people to move between the UK and Japan?
We have already heard from many colleagues about the limitations of scrutiny within this House of this trade deal, but can the Secretary of State tell us what role there will be for the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government in having any input into the deal?
As my right hon. Friend knows, it is in fact in the Derbyshire Dales that the best Stilton in the UK is made, with Hartington Blue, Dovedale Blue and other great cheeses such as Peakland White. Can my right hon. Friend further elucidate how this agreement will benefit my Stilton producers and other great cheese producers across the UK?
Of course, I welcome this because, as Asda would say, “Every little helps”—[Hon. Members: “That’s Tesco!”] Oh, is it? It is Morrisons in Porth in the Rhondda. But I am worried about Welsh lamb. There is a serious issue here, which is that 92.5% of Welsh lamb exports go to the EU, and even at the best estimates of what the Government are hoping for, only 3% will go to Japan, so if we end up with tariffs of 38% on the 92.5%, we will have killed the Welsh lamb industry. Will the Secretary of State really put all the energy she possibly can into getting a good deal for Welsh lamb with the EU as well as with Japan?
I congratulate my right hon. Friend on securing this deal. May I ask her what work she is undertaking with local stakeholders, particularly in the Black Country, so that my businesses in Wednesbury, Oldbury and Tipton can truly take advantage of the opportunities presented by the deal?
Margaret Thatcher got Japanese car companies to come to Britain as a platform to export into the single market. As a result of this Japanese deal, along with the Secretary of State’s expected EU deal, will there be more or fewer Japanese cars being exported from Britain into the EU?
Does my right hon. Friend agree that this is an excellent deal for the United Kingdom, that it offers great possibilities for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and that it is just another reason why we are better off together as a Union?
What steps her Department is taking to engage with businesses as part of free trade agreement negotiations. 
I refer to my entry in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests and thank my right hon. Friend for her answer. In my Bridgend constituency, the Ford factory is imminently to close and we hear that we may not be getting a much hoped for investment from Ineos, so our local economy is more dependent on small and medium-sized enterprises than ever before. What steps is her Department taking to engage with SMEs in particular to find out what they need as we negotiate free trade agreements with the rest of the world?
I am sorry not to be able to be in the Chamber in person. I am pleased to hear that the Secretary of State is listening to British business, and I hope that she will listen to the millions of British workers and consumers who have an equal right to be heard when it comes to trade. With that in mind, may I ask her a simple, factual question: of the 162 individuals that she announced last week will be members of her new trade advisory groups, will she tell us how many of them represent trade unions, consumer groups or non-governmental organisations?
The question really is: why do those groups really not merit being part of the trade advisory group, because of the 162 advisers that she has appointed, there is not a single person from a union, a consumer group or an NGO. Perhaps more important than anything else is that also excluded from the Secretary of State’s new advisory groups is the CBI, which previously sat on a group advising Ministers on continuity of trade for UK firms post Brexit—a group that has met nine times in the past year alone. Will the Secretary of State tell us why the CBI has been totally excluded, and why has the advisory group on continuity after Brexit now been totally disbanded?
What steps her Department is taking to engage with the food and farming sector as part of free trade agreement negotiations. 
Can the Secretary of State confirm that, contrary to persistent rumours in the media, chlorinated chicken and hormone-treated beef will not be on our supermarket shelves post Brexit?
We are now going up to see the spokesperson for the SNP, Angus Brendan MacNeil.
Chairman of the Select Committee, Mr Speaker.
We are either facing a hard Brexit or a no-deal Brexit and, as a result, food and farming have taken on really great importance. It is an issue that has caused near meltdown for the new and already failing Tory leaders in Scotland, with the National Farmers Union, Scotland, giving them the yellow card for being misleading and leaving farmers fuming. Will the Secretary of State take this opportunity to ease farmers’ anger and consumers’ anxiety and state categorically that there will be no changing of food standards or any compromise whatsoever in any trade deal on the high standards of the food that now goes on our supermarket shelves?
NFU Scotland is not just fuming: it is telling us that that the leader of the Scottish Conservatives is misrepresenting its position. The reality is that the Scottish NFU is clear in its view that it wants the Trade Bill amended to ban food imports not produced to UK standards. Will the Secretary of State confirm that she is at least listening to NFU Scotland, even if she does not agree with it, and will she tell the hon. Member for Moray (Douglas Ross) to give a true account of the NFU’s views?
During the passage of the Trade Bill, farmers via the NFU and others, including doctors via the British Medical Association, expressed deep concerns that food standards in future trade deals could be under threat, allowing in, for example, vegetables from the US, where 72 chemicals are allowed that are currently banned in the UK. Given that the Government refused to legislate in the Trade Bill to stop the lowering of standards, how will the Secretary of State respond in her engagement with farmers to ensure that that will not happen in future?
All that answer confirms is that there are no legislative protections in the Trade Bill and that MPs will have no say in any future trade deal except for potentially a “take it or leave it” choice after the negotiations are concluded. Given that Which? tells us that 95% of the public want to maintain current food standards, why do this Government continue to rule out real legislative protections in a trade Bill that would accord with the views of our farmers, our doctors and the general public?
The standards governing infant formula in the UK are far higher than those in the US. Will the Secretary of State take steps to protect our youngest citizens from the additional sugars and colourants permitted in the United States but banned here?
What steps her Department is taking to support UK exporters to help the economy recover from the covid-19 pandemic. 
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What recent steps she has taken to reduce tariffs on UK exports. 
I am proud to say that since 1962 Crewe has been home to Whitby Morrison, a family-owned ice cream van manufacturer recognised as a world leader. It exports its vans to more than 60 countries worldwide, but it still faces considerable trade barriers. Will the Secretary of State assure me that in trade talks with Japan, the US, Australia and other countries, ice cream vans are on the list so that we can back this great British export?
The proposed UK global tariffs stand to negatively affect polyethylene terephthalate resin manufacturing in Teesside, which delivers more than 70% of the UK’s PET packaging for critical applications such as food and pharmaceuticals as well as personal protective equipment. The survival of Alpek, the UK’s only producer of PET, is threatened by most favoured nation tariffs on its two main raw materials, despite the fact that there is no domestic production of them. Will the Secretary of State meet me and Alpek in my constituency to hear of the effect those tariffs could have and consider a different direction?
What steps her Department is taking to help businesses increase exports to non-EU countries. 
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If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities. 
Cornwall prides itself on its excellent food and drink produce. Will my right hon. Friend please promote this fantastic Cornish and British produce during her trade negotiations around the world?
Yesterday, I met Beam Suntory and the Scotch Whisky Association to hear about the crippling impact that tariffs are having on the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. The Secretary of State said in her article in The Daily Telegraph:“The Government is stepping up talks with the US to try and break the impasse, and will be entering into further discussions with her opposite number”. Can she give us an update on how that is going and, more importantly, tell us when we are going to call time on tariffs? 
During the lockdown and local restrictions, my constituents have really embraced shopping local and really supporting quality local food and drink products. What reassurances can the Minister please give me and my constituents that, while we do these trade deals, we really will not compromise our high food standards and our animal welfare standards? 
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As we speak, Palestinian communities remain at risk of forcible transfer as a result of Israeli annexation. The UK prohibited all trade from Crimea after Russia’s illegal occupation and annexation in 2014, and we should follow that precedent when it comes to illegal settlements. Has the International Trade Secretary had discussions with her Israeli counterpart over the illegal annexation, and will she reconsider UK trade deals with settlement territories? 
Would the Secretary of State even dream of doing a trade deal without the support of the House? 
Order. Will the Secretary of State get off the platform? We want to get through the list.
The Minister said that he welcomed the Government’s appointment of Tony Abbott as a trade adviser, but on Sky this morning, Kay Burley reminded the Health Secretary that the appointee is a misogynist and homo- phobe, which the International Trade Secretary’s colleague appeared to confirm by saying, “But he’s also an expert on trade.” Could the International Trade Secretary not find an expert for the role who demonstrates positive British values and, by the way, is not a climate change denier? 
Order. I think we ought to remember that we are dealing with international trade questions. That goes for Members on both sides of the House.
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