9 Kemi Badenoch debates involving the Department for International Trade

Oral Answers to Questions

Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Thursday 15th December 2022

(1 year, 4 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Tom Randall Portrait Tom Randall (Gedling) (Con)
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4. What assessment her Department has made of the contribution of inward investment to the Government’s growth agenda.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait The Secretary of State for International Trade (Kemi Badenoch)
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In the last financial year, DIT supported foreign direct investments generating over £7 billion-worth of economic impact to the UK economy and creating nearly 73,000 new jobs, of which 34,000 were outside London and the south-east, contributing to our levelling-up agenda. In 2021-22, we supported 91 inward investment projects aligned with the 10-point plan into the UK, which delivered £13 billion of green investment. In October, as part of the Green Trade & Investment Expo, I visited the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in Blyth—an excellent example of our British low-carbon sectors.

Tom Randall Portrait Tom Randall
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I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer. I am sure she will agree that the benefits of investment need to be seen throughout the United Kingdom. In that context, will she tell me what her Department is doing to support the levelling-up agenda and, in particular, to locate staff in the regions and nations?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I thank my hon. Friend for that question. DIT intends to grow over 550 roles outside London by 2025. Our second major location will be the Darlington economic campus, alongside three new trade and investment offices in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. I would also like my hon. Friend, as an east midlands MP, to know that I visited businesses in the east midlands just last month, and I am supported by DIT staff based all around the region, who are doing a fantastic job on trade advisory.

Mark Garnier Portrait Mark Garnier (Wyre Forest) (Con)
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5. What steps her Department is taking to reduce barriers to global trade for British businesses.

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Gareth Bacon Portrait Gareth Bacon (Orpington) (Con)
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T1. If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait The Secretary of State for International Trade (Kemi Badenoch)
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Yesterday, I returned from Delhi after holding trade talks with my counterpart, Minister Piyush Goyal, during the sixth round of the UK-India free trade agreement negotiations. We agreed that an ambitious, balanced deal that works for both our countries can be reached and should be reached at the earliest opportunity. Meeting key UK and Indian businesses at the UK India Business Council and Confederation of Indian Industry trade conference made clearer still the opportunities that the FTA would create for businesses and future generations in both our countries. I look forward to updating the House at the end of our round.

Gareth Bacon Portrait Gareth Bacon
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In 2019, our trade with CPTPP countries reached £110.7 billion, so does my right hon. Friend share my optimism that joining the bloc will increase our national prosperity? Does she agree that free trade and helping businesses such as those in Orpington to export are how we will create genuine, long-term, sustainable wealth?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I share my hon. Friend’s enthusiasm for CPTPP. Joining CPTPP will offer new opportunities for businesses in Orpington and across the UK. The potential increase to UK GDP is projected to be £1.8 billion. More than 99% of British goods exported will be eligible for tariff-free trade, including in new markets such as Malaysia. Customs procedures will become clearer and more efficient. Firms working in services will have increased market access, greater transparency and predictability.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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I call the shadow Secretary of State.

Nick Thomas-Symonds Portrait Nick Thomas-Symonds (Torfaen) (Lab)
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May I wish all hon. Members a very happy Christmas? In the spirit of Christmas cheer, I will offer the Minister for Trade Policy some help after his struggles in the Christmas quiz from my hon. Friend the Member for Brentford and Isleworth (Ruth Cadbury) earlier: it was, of course, the Prime Minister who said that the Australia deal was “one-sided”.

There is more:

“The first step is to recognise that the Australia trade deal is not actually a very good deal for the UK”.—[Official Report, 14 November 2022; Vol. 722, c. 424.]

Those are not my words, but the words of the former Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the right hon. Member for Camborne and Redruth (George Eustice). Quite simply, why should anyone have confidence in the Conservatives’ trade policy when they do not have confidence in it themselves?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman is talking nonsense. The Australia free trade agreement is a great deal. It will boost the household wages going into our pockets by an estimated £900 million. It will grow the UK economy to be an estimated £2.3 billion bigger in 2035. It will see the removal of all tariffs on UK exports, which will make it easier to sell all UK goods, from cars to chocolate and Scotch whisky. There will be lower prices at home. I had a meeting with the Australian Trade Minister, and we had a very good conversation. I think it is a shame that the shadow Secretary of State did the same and is now coming here to say negative things about the deal.

Nick Thomas-Symonds Portrait Nick Thomas-Symonds
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If the Secretary of State thinks that those views are nonsense, I suggest she takes them up with the Prime Minister and the former Secretary of State. It was their judgment that I put to her, not my words.

On trade, the reality is that the Conservatives are delivering either bad deals or no deals at all. That is what happens when we have a Government who are high on rhetoric and devoid of strategy, with workers and businesses paying the price. Let me ask a simple question. If the Government will not hit their target of 80% of our trade being under FTAs by the end of the year—and they won’t—when will they hit it?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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As Secretary of State, I have been very clear that what is important is the substance of trade deals, not the timing. It is about the deals, not the day. I am negotiating quality trade deals for the UK that will last for generations to come. We are thinking about the future, not trying to re-fight the Brexit debate.

Kieran Mullan Portrait Dr Kieran Mullan (Crewe and Nantwich) (Con)
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T2. Medtrade in my constituency has not only been supplying battlefield bleed control packs to Ukraine, but recently received approval for a new treatment for postpartum haemorrhage, which affects 14 million women globally and causes 80,000 deaths a year. Will the Secretary of State join me in meeting Medtrade in Crewe to understand how we can better help such innovative life sciences companies in our constituencies?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I thank my hon. Friend and Medtrade for their support in sending supplies to Ukraine. My Department is committed to supporting innovative life sciences companies; he will have seen the Board of Trade’s recent report on life sciences. DIT North West has worked with Medtrade for several years to grow its exports and will continue to support its export journey. I am sure that the exports Minister—the Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine (Andrew Bowie)—will be happy to meet him to further discuss what we can do.

Chi Onwurah Portrait Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central) (Lab)
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The Secretary of State recently announced signing a memorandum of understanding with the US state of South Carolina focusing on life sciences and automotive—areas that are very important to the north-east. Could she set out exactly how businesses in Newcastle can benefit from that memorandum of understanding and whether it is supposed to compensate for the lack of any trade agreement with the United States?

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Jim Shannon Portrait Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP)
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Northern Ireland’s food and drink exports are worth some £5.4 billion, and we export 65% of the sector’s manufacturing to the UK, the EU and the rest of the world. What discussions has the Minister had with the Ulster Farmers’ Union, in which I declare an interest, to commit to protecting Northern Ireland’s agriculture industry in any future trade deal?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I have not personally had any meetings with the Ulster Farmers’ Union, but one of my Ministers has. I want to emphasise that our export strategy is focused on such issues. If the hon. Gentleman writes to me with more specifics, I would be very happy to take them up on his behalf.

Peter Aldous Portrait Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con)
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T7. The road to net zero provides many local job-creation opportunities on the north East Anglian coast in technologies such as offshore wind, hydrogen and carbon capture. The Government are backing these industries, but significant private sector investment is required. I would be grateful if my right hon. Friend outlined what her Department is doing to attract inward investment to these exciting emerging sectors.

Greg Smith Portrait Greg Smith (Buckingham) (Con)
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Exports such as squid from the Falklands are an enormously important part of the economies of our overseas territories and Crown dependencies. Can my right hon. Friend assure me that everything possible is being done to support the trading relationships of this important part of the British family?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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We work closely with the Crown dependencies and overseas territories to ensure their interests are actively represented in our FTA programme and trade negotiations. DIT officials have fortnightly contact with them, and the Minister for Trade Policy has recently engaged with them and will continue to do so.

James Duddridge Portrait Sir James Duddridge (Rochford and Southend East) (Con)
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I was interested to hear the Secretary of State’s update on India. Can she go into more detail on how many chapters have closed and on the big opportunities in this trading relationship?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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Sixteen chapters have closed. I returned from India just yesterday, and I am still a bit jetlagged. We had two days of invigorating trade talks. Minister Goyal and I had face-to-face discussions on the priority areas within the FTA, including goods, services and investment. I had meetings with multiple businesses that the embassy and all our fantastic officials are supporting.

Robert Courts Portrait Robert Courts (Witney) (Con)
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The Minister for Trade Policy mentioned the North Carolina trade agreement he has just signed. Can he explain how this will help businesses in places such as West Oxfordshire to export to every corner of the United States, our largest trading partner?

Richard Graham Portrait Richard Graham (Gloucester) (Con)
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We have recently signed several agreements with Indonesia, which is good news, and the follow-up is now critical. Will my right hon. Friend confirm, first, that the next round of Joint Economic and Trade Committee talks will happen here in London in the first quarter of next year? Secondly, will the new Government-to-Government framework have Indonesia as a priority? Thirdly, and perhaps most intriguingly, can we move to negotiations on an FTA as soon as possible?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I congratulate my hon. Friend on being a doughty champion of Indonesia and on being such a good trade envoy. He is right that we want to have a JETCO early next year. The Department is liaising closely with its counterparts in Indonesia, and I would be delighted to invite him to assist us in all our engagements to make sure we see all the good things that he wants to happen.

Stephen Crabb Portrait Stephen Crabb (Preseli Pembrokeshire) (Con)
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I start by thanking you, Mr Speaker, for leading us in the one-minute silence commemorating 80 years since this House recognised that the holocaust was taking place in Nazi-occupied Europe. It was a powerful moment for the House, and thank you, too, for the welcome you gave to the incredible holocaust survivors who are with us this morning.

Following the Minister’s meeting with the French Trade Minister Olivier Becht yesterday, does he agree that there is a new mood of optimism around the Franco-British bilateral relationship, and that the planned summit in the new year provides a really good moment to think about deepening our ties of co-operation, especially on trade and energy security, and increasing people-to-people contact?

Oral Answers to Questions

Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Thursday 3rd November 2022

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Peter Aldous Portrait Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con)
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1. What steps her Department is taking to increase trade opportunities for the UK energy sector.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait The Secretary of State for International Trade (Kemi Badenoch)
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The Government’s export strategy sets out how we aim to capture up to £170 billion of export sales estimated for 2030 in low-carbon sectors. At the green trade and investment expo earlier this week, we showcased the best renewable energy technologies and innovations that the UK has to offer. Over the last year, the Department for International Trade has supported £5 billion-worth of exports across energy and infrastructure sectors.

Peter Aldous Portrait Peter Aldous
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I welcome my right hon. Friend to her place, and I am grateful for her reply. With 50% of the UK’s offshore wind fleet anchored off the East Anglian coast, local businesses have acquired a unique set of skills, knowledge and expertise that should be promoted abroad, so as to increase trade opportunities. A case in point is the memorandum of understanding between the New Anglia local enterprise partnership and Virginia Beach in the US. I would be most grateful if my right hon. Friend could confirm that a national framework is in place to ensure that we make the most of these great opportunities.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising that issue and highlighting the good work that DIT is doing. He will be pleased to know that in 2020—the latest figures available—the UK exported £821 million-worth of offshore wind products, with the help of DIT overseas and sector teams. We have a plan in place to carry out promotions, and work is ongoing to continue to build the UK’s extensive export offer and maximise economic value. My hon. Friend will also be pleased to know that in and around his constituency of Waveney, DIT is supporting Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth in the build-out of Iberdrola and Vattenfall’s projects, which are developing capability to export low-carbon technology globally.

Kerry McCarthy Portrait Kerry McCarthy (Bristol East) (Lab)
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Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of meeting the Foreign Minister from the Maldives. Like many small island states, it would very much benefit from UK support when it comes to renewable energy; it is just not in a position to do that itself. It would also benefit from the lifting of tariffs on tuna, which I hope the Secretary of State is aware of. What support can we give small island states such as the Maldives?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I thank the hon. Lady for her question. We have a developing countries trading scheme, which we use to assist small countries that are not able to take some of the opportunities that larger, more developed economies can take. I know that Foreign Office Ministers have been having conversations with Ministers from the Maldives, and I am pleased to see that the engagement is extensive. We will do all we can, and I am happy to have conversations on the best way to assist it in reducing tariffs and increasing trade between our countries.

Jake Berry Portrait Sir Jake Berry (Rossendale and Darwen) (Con)
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The green industrial revolution can seed jobs across the north of England. Will my right hon. Friend say, particularly in advance of COP27, what support is available for small manufacturers in places such as Rossendale and Darwen to ensure that they can access our overseas networks, to push international trade beyond the shores of Lancashire?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I thank my right hon. Friend for his question. That is one of the things we are promoting during International Trade Week. We have a 12-point export plan, to do precisely what he described. Just this week, I have met export champions across the UK, who have been showing the ways that we can expand our export networks into other countries. I am happy to provide him with more information on what the manufacturing sector in and around his region can do to take advantage of that.

Jim Shannon Portrait Jim Shannon (Strangford) (DUP)
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I welcome the Secretary of State to her place and wish her well in all that she does. I welcome greater trading opportunities for the energy sector. We must also be aware of the need to self-source and provide our own energy, to be self-sufficient. Has she had the opportunity yet to evaluate nuclear energy options for regions such as Northern Ireland and the ability to then increase trade with other nations?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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The short answer to that is no, primarily because that would be a competency of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, but I would very much like to hear more about the trade opportunities that the hon. Gentleman has identified, which DIT can support in conversations with BEIS, to facilitate those sorts of plan.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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I call the shadow Minister, Ruth Cadbury.

Ruth Cadbury Portrait Ruth Cadbury (Brentford and Isleworth) (Lab)
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On behalf of His Majesty’s Opposition, I welcome the Secretary of State to her position on her first outing. The Government have committed to reaching net zero by 2050, but they continue to approve new licences for oil and gas projects. Projects approved before August 2023 could be protected from being stopped under a revised energy charter treaty. We know that other countries have been sued under the treaty when they tried to close down fossil fuel projects under their net zero commitments. How would the Government prevent that from happening in the UK under a revised energy charter treaty?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I thank the hon. Lady for her question. She should know that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believes that those projects are consistent with our transition to net zero. She will know that gas is a transition fuel, so it is not possible for us to get to net zero by cutting off gas completely. We need to ensure that the explorations that are taking place are in line with our strategy; I believe that they are. Responsibility for the energy charter treaty lies with BEIS, but we lead on investment provisions and investor-state dispute settlements. We continue to see it as having an important role in these policies and the UK’s trade policy.

Kate Osamor Portrait Kate Osamor (Edmonton) (Lab/Co-op)
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2. What discussions she has had with her counterparts at the World Trade Organisation on access to treatments for covid-19.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait The Secretary of State for International Trade (Kemi Badenoch)
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The last World Trade Organisation ministerial conference, attended by my predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Anne-Marie Trevelyan), brokered an agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights in relation to covid-19 vaccines. My officials are fully engaged in ongoing discussions regarding TRIPS. The UK remains committed to engaging constructively with the WTO on that.

Kate Osamor Portrait Kate Osamor
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I congratulate the Secretary of State on her new role. A great success was achieved earlier this year when a deal was agreed at the WTO to waiver some rights on the manufacture of covid vaccines, yet the deal does not apply to treatment, so countries such as Pakistan and South Africa are urging an extension of the waiver. Can the Government commit to being a positive voice in negotiations and pledge to support a waiver on covid-19 treatments?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I cannot make a pledge at the Dispatch Box. I can say that we will do everything we can within the existing framework to support countries that need access to vaccines and treatments. If they are making specific requests about waivers that the DIT can consider, I would be happy for the hon. Lady to write to me so that I can take a look.

Robin Walker Portrait Mr Robin Walker (Worcester) (Con)
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3. What steps her Department is taking to mark International Trade Week.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait The Secretary of State for International Trade (Kemi Badenoch)
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Building on last year’s success, my Department is holding more than 120 events across the country this week to help businesses of all sizes and sectors to seize export opportunities to support jobs and growth nationwide. I was pleased to welcome more than 100 investors and UK exporters to the green trade and investment summit in Gateshead, attend an Export Academy event in Birmingham and speak at the National Farmers Union dairy export summit to promote UK trade.

Robin Walker Portrait Mr Walker
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I welcome my right hon. Friend to her place and my neighbour, the Under-Secretary of State for International Trade, my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Worcestershire (Nigel Huddleston), to his. Worcester is home to some fantastic exporters, including Southco, the products of which reach markets as far afield as the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Turkey, South Africa and Greece. It has been supported by the DIT to achieve exports worth more than £6 million and it is now working on major opportunities in India. As we celebrate International Trade Week, will my right hon. Friend ensure that we redouble efforts to support Worcester and west midlands exporters?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I am happy to assure my hon. Friend of that. I am grateful to him for highlighting a lot of the fantastic work that is taking place across the country. He will know, as will hon. Members on both sides of the House, that when it comes to exporting, size does not matter. We want to support as many small and medium-sized enterprises as possible to take advantage of the benefits of international trade. The export support service has boosted our international trade adviser network. He will be pleased to know that five advisers operate in his constituency; more than 180 advisers across the country offer tailored support to SMEs to take advantage of the opportunities for international trade.

Chris Elmore Portrait Chris Elmore (Ogmore) (Lab)
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My constituency makes everything from military grade parachutes to television cameras for US television networks. During International Trade Week, it would be good to do more to include the nations of the United Kingdom to ensure that every constituency in Wales, Scotland and England benefits from that much-needed trade, and that businesses in my constituency from Sony to Wepa and Rockwool are celebrated and supported by the Department.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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The hon. Gentleman raises a good point. We need to make sure that our policies are visible across the UK. I saw many businesses from Wales and similar regions in the west of England at the green trade and investment expo. They are pleased with the support that they are receiving from the Department. I think we have a visit to Cardiff planned with the Board of Trade soon. I hope that these are the sorts of things that he and his fellow MPs in Wales will be able to take advantage of.

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
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I call the shadow Secretary of State.

Nick Thomas-Symonds Portrait Nick Thomas-Symonds (Torfaen) (Lab)
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After several months in which Ministers have come and gone without even facing questions at the Dispatch Box, it is good to have a chance, in this International Trade Week, to welcome the new team to the Department. I would of course like to welcome the Secretary of State and to wish her well in her new post, and I would also like to start on a note of consensus. The Secretary of State said during the leadership contest in the summer:

“Why should the public trust us? We haven’t exactly covered ourselves in glory”.

I entirely agree with her assessment of her party.

We know where the Prime Minister thinks that Conservative policy on trade has failed, because he called the Australia deal “one-sided”, so can the Secretary of State set out which other aspects of trade policy have failed and how she intends to improve them?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his warm welcome. He makes reference to comments that I made in the summer, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to clarify them. I was actually referring to all MPs and to Parliament, rather than just to this side of the House—[Interruption.] Indeed; we all know Members of all parties who have not exactly covered themselves in glory, and nobody should pretend that this is about those on one particular set of Benches.

The right hon. Gentleman is talking about trade policy, and one of the things I am very keen to highlight is that there is more to trade than free trade agreements. What we need to do is get our exports and investments going; that is the bread and butter of what trade is about. I disagree with his assertion about the one-sided nature of any particular agreement. What I want to see is businesses selling their products outside the UK and investment coming in.

Nick Thomas-Symonds Portrait Nick Thomas-Symonds
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Well, trade policy certainly has not been covered in glory, because the 80% of UK trade that was to be covered by free trade deals by the end of year is not going to happen, the comprehensive deal with the US is out of sight and the deal with India by Diwali is a promise broken—but is this really any surprise? The Secretary of State’s predecessor said that her then Minister was not always available to answer the phone, the former exports Minister criticised his Department’s own trade fairs and the right hon. Member for South West Norfolk (Elizabeth Truss) was, it seems, prioritising selfies and wine fridges over standing up for Britain. Is not the reality that this Government’s incompetence is costing growth, jobs and prosperity? Quite simply, when will the Secretary of State get a grip of the Department?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I find every single thing the right hon. Gentleman has said to be laughable. It is very easy to stand at the Dispatch Box and make political points. I am here to actually deliver for the businesses across the UK, and that is what those of us on the Conservative Benches are going to be focused on. This is International Trade Week, so he will know that by 2030 we are forecasting £1.8 trillion-worth of green trade and £170 billion of UK exports. That is not the work of a Department that is failing; that is the work of a Department that is succeeding. I am very pleased with the actions of the officials at the DIT, and I will continue to support them both in the Department and here in Parliament.

James Wild Portrait James Wild (North West Norfolk) (Con)
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4. What progress her Department has made on securing UK membership of the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership.

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Sara Britcliffe Portrait Sara Britcliffe (Hyndburn) (Con)
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10. What steps her Department is taking to increase UK exports.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait The Secretary of State for International Trade (Kemi Badenoch)
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I am delighted to say that UK exports were £728 billion in the 12 months to the end of August 2022—an increase of £49 billion adjusted for inflation. Through our free trade agreement programme, we are creating new opportunities for UK exporters through FTAs covering £814 billion-worth of bilateral trade in 2021. We are also supporting UK exporters through our export academy, which since October 2021 has provided tailored assistance to over 11,500 businesses.

Sara Britcliffe Portrait Sara Britcliffe
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Last year, more than 160 of the great businesses that we have in Hyndburn and Haslingden exported goods around Europe and the rest of the world. Increasing exports creates jobs, wealth and better opportunities. Does the Secretary of State agree that liberalising international trade as a function of our new post-Brexit freedoms is key to levelling up our country, as that provides more opportunities for businesses in Hyndburn and Haslingden?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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I wholeheartedly agree with my hon. Friend. Opening up new markets for Great British business, whether through the FTA negotiations or our work on trade barriers, will be key to securing the economic growth that the British people want. I am also pleased to hear that the export strategy is having a positive impact in her constituency. We currently have 72 export champions based in the north-west, close to her constituency, who are sharing their export journeys and acting as role models for new and aspiring exporters. As part of International Trade Week, we have hosted more than 120 events, and four of them have been in the north-west.

Margaret Ferrier Portrait Margaret Ferrier (Rutherglen and Hamilton West) (Ind)
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A survey of small and medium-sized enterprises for the British Chambers of Commerce found that four in five had not carried out any assessment into what they may need from a trade deal with major international markets. What steps are the Government taking to engage SMEs better with free trade agreements under negotiation?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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The hon. Lady raises a good point. We do have SME chapters in FTAs, but quite a lot of engagement takes place with trade bodies such as the CBI and the Federation of Small Businesses. Many of those trade organisations represent their members fully, but if she thinks that a specific issue has been overlooked in any particular negotiations and she would like to highlight that, she should contact DIT in her capacity as a Member of Parliament and we will look into helping those businesses in her constituency and across the country.

Gavin Newlands Portrait Gavin Newlands (Paisley and Renfrewshire North) (SNP)
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11. What steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help reduce the effects of (a) inflation and (b) exchange rate fluctuations on the supply chains of Scottish exporters.

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Kate Osamor Portrait Kate Osamor (Edmonton) (Lab/Co-op)
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T1.   If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait The Secretary of State for International Trade (Kemi Badenoch)
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I am delighted that this week the Department is hosting our second International Trade Week. Trading around the world can be transformative for UK businesses, which is why, with more than 10,000 business registrations for about 123 events delivered by the Department and external partners, International Trade Week is the Department’s biggest single showcase for the global trading opportunities that are open to our businesses. It also marks one year since the launch of our Made in the UK, Sold to the World export strategy. Throughout the week, businesses have been able to make the most of key export strategy initiatives, such as advice from the export support service and expert support from the Export Academy.

Kate Osamor Portrait Kate Osamor
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We recently heard that negotiations to conclude a trade deal with India have stalled because of the comments made by the Home Secretary about migrants from that country—just another mess to lay at her door. Will the Secretary of State tell us whether she will ensure that the Home Secretary’s hardline opposition to migration will not harm our economic relationships?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
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It is not true that negotiations with India have stalled, either because of the Home Secretary’s comments or for any other reason. They are ongoing. What has changed is the deadline: as a result of my becoming Secretary of State, we are focusing on the deal and not the day, and that is the most important aspect. The Home Secretary is well within her rights to discuss migration issues, and her comments were not specific to the India trade deal. She has a responsibility for migration, and she is doing her job properly.

James Daly Portrait James Daly  (Bury North) (Con)
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T2.   What progress is being made on establishing a free trade agreement with Pakistan?

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Gareth Thomas Portrait Gareth Thomas (Harrow West) (Lab/Co-op)
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In the first half of the year, British food and drink exports to Europe were still 5% below their 2019 level, but imports from Europe were up by 22%. The last Secretary of State would not take any action to reduce the barriers to trading with Europe and, indeed, cut the funding for business groups to back British exporters. After the economic car crash that she and the rest of the Government caused last month, is it not time that this Secretary of State took a different approach?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

I disagree with the hon. Gentleman. We are doing everything we can to support businesses. He will know that 2019 was before the pandemic, so of course we recognise that supply chain issues have had an impact on exports. I have been referring to this throughout today’s questions session. We have an export support service, and plenty of support in place to assist businesses trading across Europe and the rest of the world.

Gareth Thomas Portrait Gareth Thomas
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am sorry that the Secretary of State continues to take such a complacent attitude to trade with Europe. This is not just about food and drink; recent data shows that exports of cars and car parts are still significantly down as a result of the trade barriers, and many hundreds of small businesses which were exporting to Europe, according to His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, have simply stopped doing so. The Secretary of State’s own colleague, the Under-Secretary of State for Justice, the hon. Member for Finchley and Golders Green (Mike Freer)—a former exports Minister—has said that businesses which want to export are simply not getting enough support to do so.

Given the desperate need for growth following the kamikaze Budget that the Secretary of State backed last month, can she tell the House whether there will be more or less support for British exports after the Chancellor’s fiscal statement?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

It amazes me that, even now, Brexit is still being blamed for everything. It is about time that the Opposition, who call other people complacent, paid attention to what is going on in the world and got off their personal hobby-horses. On car manufacturing, there is an issue with battery supply from the US, as everybody knows. We are doing everything that we can to support companies in getting the parts that they need. The export support service is doing a fantastic job, and I commend the officials who work in it.

Desmond Swayne Portrait Sir Desmond Swayne (New Forest West) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

T4.   When couriers demand payment of duty on goods from the European Union, with which we have a free trade agreement, are we being ripped off?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

Items moving between countries normally attract customs duty and import VAT, but my right hon. Friend will know that the trade and co-operation agreement means that there will be no customs duty on goods moving between Great Britain and the EU if the goods meet rules of origin. Delivery companies may charge their clients handling fees for moving products internationally, but the Government do not have control over those charges, which are a commercial matter.

Joanna Cherry Portrait Joanna Cherry (Edinburgh South West) (SNP)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

T3.   The Scottish Parliament would be unlikely to ratify a free trade agreement that did not include a standard human rights clause, such as the one that the European Union insists on. The Government seem to have ditched those human rights clauses. Should not trade policy reflect the policies and requirements of all the constituent parts of the United Kingdom, not just those of the Westminster Government?

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Rachael Maskell Portrait Rachael Maskell (York Central) (Lab/Co-op)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

T7. The use of targeted trade sanctions against repressive regimes is effective, as we have seen in the case of Russia, and significantly weakens those regimes’ power, so what discussions has the Secretary of State had with international counterparts on how economic sanctions against the violent, brutal and repressive Iranian regime could be deployed effectively?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

The hon. Lady raises a very important point about the use of trade sanctions. I agree that there are certain countries on which we need an effective trade sanctions policy. Discussions take place across Government, including with Foreign Office Ministers and at official level, and those will continue. I cannot give her the detail of those discussions, but I assure her that we are looking at the issue very closely.

David Simmonds Portrait David Simmonds  (Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

T6.   I have met a good many constituents whose businesses are engaged in trade with Israel, and who have told me about the opportunities they see there, particularly in the technology and medical sectors. What progress has there been on a trade deal with Israel?

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Margaret Ferrier Portrait Margaret Ferrier (Rutherglen and Hamilton West) (Ind)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

What recent assessment have Ministers made of the trends in services trade with the EU? What steps are the Government taking to increase that trade?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

There are ongoing discussions about what we can do for services trade. Last month, I met my Dutch counterpart who brought over a trade delegation. We are working with countries individually on everything we can do to improve trade, not just on our services exports but on their exports, too, because they continue to want to sell to the UK.

Wendy Morton Portrait Wendy Morton (Aldridge-Brownhills) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

Yesterday was Back British Farming Day, and many of us in this place joined the NFU in showing our support for the fantastic British farmers across the country, including in my Aldridge-Brownhills constituency, where we still have a small number of farmers. What more can we do to support our farmers, beyond the fantastic work on lamb in this trade deal?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

I was at the NFU’s dairy export summit yesterday as part of my activities for International Trade Week and Back British Farming Day. My right hon. Friend will be pleased to know that this country’s dairy exports are increasing. I spoke to many businesses at the summit and they want information on exporting. There is a huge gap in knowledge on how to export, and that is one of the areas on which we want to provide additional information to support farmers.

Patrick Grady Portrait Patrick Grady (Glasgow North) (Ind)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

I regularly hear from constituents in Glasgow North who are concerned that the Tories’ desperation for trade deals will lead to a race to the bottom on food standards. Can Ministers guarantee that there will be no chlorine-washed chicken or hormone-fed beef on supermarket shelves in Glasgow North as a result of Tory trade deals?

Greg Smith Portrait Greg Smith (Buckingham) (Con)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

We heard earlier about our great success in opening up new beef and lamb markets around the world. Earlier this year the Government backed a strategy launched by the NFU to increase agricultural exports by 30% through a 10-point plan. Will the Secretary of State confirm that the Government will continue to work with the NFU to land that 10-point plan to grow British agricultural exports?

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

Yes, I am very happy to continue working with the NFU. We, of course, have our own 12-point export strategy plan; I am sure that there is a lot of overlap between the two, but we are all trying to get to the same place, and I am happy to reassure my hon. Friend on that.

Gavin Newlands Portrait Gavin Newlands (Paisley and Renfrewshire North) (SNP)
- Parliament Live - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My hon. Friend the Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (Drew Hendry) listed the litany of issues with the Government’s approach to trade deals. I mentioned Saxo bank’s assessment of the UK as an “emerging market country”, and with a US trade official describing UK trade policy as a disaster, why does the Secretary of State think the standing of the UK has fallen so far in the eyes of the world?

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Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Order. Mr Bone, that is the most irrelevant question I have heard in a set of questions. This is not like you; I thought your question would be at least on farming—whatever you want it to be.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Kemi Badenoch
- Parliament Live - Hansard - -

Yes. [Laughter.]

Lindsay Hoyle Portrait Mr Speaker
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Excellent, that completes questions. Thank you for that contribution—not!

UK-Gulf Co-operation Council Free Trade Agreement Negotiations

Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Thursday 13th October 2022

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Written Statements
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Kemi Badenoch Portrait The Secretary of State for International Trade (Kemi Badenoch)
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The first round of negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between the United Kingdom (UK) and Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) took place between 22 August and 29 September. The negotiations were conducted virtually.

In this round of negotiations the UK and GCC discussed their objectives for the FTA, and exchanged technical information. Technical discussions were held across 29 policy areas over 33 sessions. In total, more than 100 UK negotiators from across Government took part in this round of negotiations.

An FTA will be a substantial economic opportunity, and a significant moment in the UK-GCC relationship. Government analysis shows that, in the long-run, a deal with the GCC is expected to increase trade by at least 16%, add at least £1.6 billion a year to the UK economy and contribute an additional £600 million or more to UK workers’ annual wages.

Both sides have committed to secure an ambitious, comprehensive and modern agreement fit for the 21st century.

The Government remain clear that any deal will be in the best interests of the British people and the UK economy. We will not compromise on our high environmental and labour protections, public health, animal welfare and food standards, and we will maintain our right to regulate in the public interest. We are also clear that during these negotiations, the NHS and the services it provides is not on the table.

The Government will keep Parliament updated as these negotiations progress.

[HCWS320]

Trade Negotiations with Israel and Canada

Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Friday 23rd September 2022

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Written Statements
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Kemi Badenoch Portrait The Secretary of State for International Trade (Kemi Badenoch)
- Hansard - -

The first round of United Kingdom-Israel free trade agreement negotiations took place between 12 and 20 September.

In parallel, the third round of United Kingdom-Canada free trade agreement negotiations commenced on 12 September and concluded on 16 September.

Following the death of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, these rounds proceeded, with appropriate adjustments.

The round of negotiations with Israel was conducted in a hybrid fashion; a small group of United Kingdom officials travelled to Jerusalem for in-person discussions, with further officials attending virtually from the United Kingdom. During this initial round, talks focused on gathering insights on key interests and priorities across policy areas as well as building a shared understanding of each other’s initial positions. Technical discussions focused on 29 policy areas in over 50 sessions.

A new agreement with Israel—with services and innovation at its heart—will build upon our existing trade and partnership agreement. It will cement our relationship with a rapidly growing economy and take our trading relationship to the next level. It will support United Kingdom jobs, and update outdated trade rules, unleashing our high-tech innovative economies.

The negotiations with Canada were conducted in a fully virtual format. Technical discussions were held across 26 policy areas across over 50 separate sessions.

Talks focused on reaffirming the United Kingdom’s positions, having tabled and presented text across the majority of chapters in the previous round. The United Kingdom’s negotiating team made progress on understanding areas of policy convergence and divergence with Canada. They agreed text where possible and in the United Kingdom’s interests and objectives to support economic growth.

The negotiations continue to reflect a shared ambition to secure a progressive deal which looks to build on the United Kingdom-Canada trade continuity agreement, and strengthens our existing trading relationship, already worth over £21 billion in 2021.

We are clear that any deals we sign will be in the best interests of the British people and the United Kingdom economy. We will not compromise on our high environmental and labour protections, public health, animal welfare and food standards, and we will maintain our right to regulate in the public interest. We are also clear that during these negotiations, the NHS and the services it provides are not on the table.

We are working towards holding a second and fourth round of negotiations with Israel and Canada respectively in due course.

Parliament will be kept updated as these negotiations progress.

[HCWS304]

Oral Answers to Questions

Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Thursday 15th November 2018

(5 years, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Liam Fox Portrait Dr Fox
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

We have set out our export and investment strategy, and we are one of the few countries in the world that are seeing a rise in investment at a time when foreign direct investment is dropping by 41%. We currently have one of the biggest increases in exports, and our trade policy and new system of trade commissioners will ensure increased levels of contact with Governments in all countries, including the one that the right hon. Gentleman failed to tell us the name of.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Con)
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T5. Will the Minister update the House on what further steps are being taken to enable future trade deals?

George Hollingbery Portrait The Minister for Trade Policy (George Hollingbery)
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As my hon. Friend will know, the Government have outlined to the House the progress that new free trade deals will make, and consultations on four potential deals were in the public realm from July to October. Those potential deals include the US, Australia, New Zealand and the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership, and we are currently in the process of analysing the extensive responses that we received.

Oral Answers to Questions

Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Thursday 28th June 2018

(5 years, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The DWP takes such matters very seriously and will often put in a bespoke plan, particularly if there are a large number of redundancies in one location. A lot of work has been going on in the DWP to ensure that that happens across all sectors. I am sure that the Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my hon. Friend the Member for North West Hampshire (Kit Malthouse), has heard the hon. Lady’s question and will take that back to the Department.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Con)
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T2. Does the Minister agree that making upskirting a specific criminal offence, punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment, and closing this legal loophole will better protect victims and increase convictions?

Edward Argar Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Edward Argar)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s question. Although there have been successful prosecutions for this highly intrusive practice under existing offences, current legislation does not necessarily cover all instances of upskirting. By creating a specific upskirting offence, the Government are strengthening the law in this area. We are doing exactly what she alludes to—closing a loophole—and ensuring that the most serious sexual offenders go on the sex offenders register. We are determined to continue to work across the House and with Gina Martin and other campaigners to get this important law on the statute book.

United States Tariffs: Steel and Aluminium

Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Liam Fox Portrait Dr Fox
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

As I have said, the whole aim of policy at present in the UK, the European Union and beyond is to try to temper these proposals and to get exemptions so that we do not feel any of the impetus that might lead to an escalation of the current position.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Con)
- Hansard - -

As tariffs go, 25% is particularly high and could lead to all sorts of unforeseen consequences. Is there any evidence that there will be trade diversion to the UK as a result of the US imposition of 25% tariffs?

Liam Fox Portrait Dr Fox
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

It is quite difficult to know in advance where there might be diversion. Again I make the point that our aim is not to deal with the consequences but to prevent the imposition of the proposed tariffs in the first place.

Trade Bill (Eighth sitting)

Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Committee Debate: 8th sitting: House of Commons
Thursday 1st February 2018

(6 years, 2 months ago)

Public Bill Committees
Read Full debate Trade Bill 2017-19 View all Trade Bill 2017-19 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: Public Bill Committee Amendments as at 1 February 2018 - (1 Feb 2018)
Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Con)
- Hansard - -

I will be brief. We all believe in maintaining the very highest standards in animal welfare and food production; I do not think that is in dispute. The Government have done quite a lot in the last few months—we know about the ban on microbeads, to protect marine wildlife—but this is one of the areas in which we are able to go further and do better than we ever could while we were in the EU.

There is much to agree with in the statements from the hon. Member for Brent North; I, too, am against the export of live animals. However, we must remember the Bill’s purpose: ensuring the smooth roll-over of existing trade agreements. It is not about future trade agreements, so I do not believe that the Bill is the appropriate place for the new clause. In fact, if I were being cynical, I would say that this looks like a mischievous attempt to reignite the debate on new clause 30 that was proposed to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, in order to generate press releases.

Our job is to make good law. The draft Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill was published on 12 December. It sets out to do exactly what the new clause would do, but even better. If Labour Members were serious about raising animal welfare standards, rather than virtue signalling, they would focus on the draft Bill. We should not tack on to the Trade Bill a new clause that is outside its scope.

As it happens, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee yesterday released its report on the draft Bill. It made several recommendations for improving it, including bringing forward a new and completely separate Bill on animal sentience. The Government have to reflect on that report and its recommendations, and it would be inappropriate for us to pre-empt the Select Committee’s report and the Government’s reaction.

Alan Brown Portrait Alan Brown
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

As the hon. Lady said, nobody can argue against the new clause’s intentions: maintaining animal welfare and food production standards when entering into international trade agreements. I am sure that the Minister will say that the new clause is not needed, because existing agreements will roll over and they comply with all the legislation, but as we heard from witnesses, in the roll-over process everything is up for grabs, so there is an argument for protecting animal welfare and food production standards in the Bill, and I understand why the proposal has been made.

One concern that I have about the new clause is that it refers to UK law and does not recognise that law is devolved; animal sentience should also be a devolved matter once we withdraw from the EU. From my perspective, the new clause does not take cognisance of the Scottish Government and the devolved Administrations, so that causes me concern about how it is written.

The hon. Member for Saffron Walden said that the Tory Government are bringing in good law, but then admitted that the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has made recommendations against the draft Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill. As a member of that Committee, I can say that witnesses have basically said that the current proposal as regards recognising animal sentience is not good law and not fit for purpose, and the Committee is recommending that the Government think again on that Bill in terms of sentience, so they are a long way from making good law.

I support the principles of the new clause, but as stated, I have concerns about it not recognising the devolved Administrations.

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Anna McMorrin Portrait Anna McMorrin
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the Minister for his intervention, but the fact remains that this Government did not vote for that amendment, so are we to keep that trust that this UK Government will introduce those welfare standards post-Brexit? I for one do not find that trust. I struggle to understand this decision by the Government, which is a massive blow for the welfare of wildlife, pets and livestock alike.

Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Badenoch
- Hansard - -

There is a draft Bill on sentencing and animal sentience coming in. Why does the hon. Lady feel that there will be no commitments in that Bill, given what it is called? What are her concerns about that Bill?

Anna McMorrin Portrait Anna McMorrin
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I thank the hon. Lady for her intervention, but does she not realise that this Bill is about the rules and regulations during trade? That is why we need the new clause in the Bill.

Only domestic animals are covered by the Animal Welfare Act 2006; animals in the wild and laboratory animals are expressly exempt. As we seek new deals in our negotiations with countries that perhaps have much lower animal welfare standards, we are particularly concerned that there will be the temptation to lower our standards. The Bill needs strengthening to better protect UK animal welfare standards. I hope the Government will see some sense and support the new clause to ensure that we do not water down those standards.

Trade Bill

Kemi Badenoch Excerpts
Tuesday 9th January 2018

(6 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Kemi Badenoch Portrait Mrs Kemi Badenoch (Saffron Walden) (Con)
- Hansard - -

I welcome the Bill, and I am pleased to see these first steps towards building an independent trade policy. I look forward to exciting new trade deals, but this Bill is about ensuring that we have continuity with the existing EU bilateral trade deals. I am a great believer in free trade and free markets, and I do not want to see any unnecessary barriers to trade. However, today, those true market values and principles—those rules-based values—are under threat. It is important that the rules are followed because, if they are not, that will destroy trust and faith not just in free markets, but in capitalism, and businessmen and women in this country who play by the rules will be unfairly penalised. That is why I welcome the establishment of the Trade Remedies Authority.

We need trade remedies because anti-dumping, anti-subsidy and safeguarding measures are necessary to ensure that a level playing field whenever people bring goods into this country. I mention that in particular due to the farmers in my constituency. I have had many meetings with them, and safeguarding comes up time and again. Our farmers work to some of the highest food and environmental welfare standards in the world. The Red Tractor scheme, for example, guarantees animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection in the UK. As we pursue a free trade and free market agenda, it is vital that we demand the same standards of farmers in other countries as we do of our own. We must have a level playing field.

I look forward to seeing more trade with developing countries—in particular, those badly affected by the common agricultural policy. This is an opportunity not just to get food at cheaper prices, but to use the strength of our large market to help other countries to achieve high standards in food production and animal and environmental welfare. I cannot think of any reason for voting against this Bill given the benefits that it will bring. For that and many other reasons, I am happy to support it and will be voting in favour of its Second Reading this evening.