I am proud to support the Government’s ambitious trade policy, which will seize on the opportunities available to us as a sovereign trading nation. This trade policy will champion and enhance the UK’s reputation as a world-leading, open and business friendly destination for foreign investment, whilst also strengthening critical supply chains and improving the UK’s security and economic resilience through international trade. The Government will continue to support businesses in tackling trade barriers, as well as working with partners to strengthen the international trading system and update the global trading rules in support of free and fair trade.
Recent achievements of this trade policy include securing far-reaching trade agreements with Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. These deals further pave the way for UK accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a vast free trade area populated by half a billion people and with a joint GDP of £8.4 trillion in 2020. I welcome that negotiations have substantially concluded to accede the UK to the CPTPP. The next step in the accession process will be a legal review of the agreement text. This will be followed by formal signature of the agreement. After this, the Department for Business and trade will commission the Trade and Agriculture Commission to prepare its advice on the impact of the agreement on plant and animal life. The agreement text will then be formally laid in Parliament.
Regarding trade with the EU, I am glad that the Government has launched the Export Support Service. No matter the size of the business, how much they export or where in the UK they are based, businesses can use the Export Support Service to get answers to practical questions. While the service currently focuses on questions businesses have about trading with Europe, it will expand to cover more global markets later this year.
The Windsor Framework is a reasonable and practical solution to these problems and it will restore the balance of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement by fundamentally recasting arrangements in three key areas: restoring the smooth flow of trade within the UK internal market by removing the burdens that have disrupted East-West trade; safeguarding Northern Ireland's place in the Union by addressing practical problems affecting the availability of goods and medicines from Great Britain, and the ability of Northern Ireland to benefit from UK-wide tax and spend policies; and addressing the democratic deficit with the Stormont break, allowing the devolved Government to raise concerns about EU law and giving the UK Government the ability to veto its implementation.
I can assure you that ministerial colleagues are aware of the report, and I am confident they will give its recommendations due consideration.