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Most Favoured Nation Tariffs

Volume 670: debated on Thursday 23 January 2020

4. What steps she is taking to ensure that most favoured nation tariffs support UK manufacturing industries after the UK leaves the EU. (900349)

We are developing our own most favoured nation tariff schedule, ensuring that it is right for the UK. We want costs kept low for consumers and to ensure UK manufacturers are not disadvantaged against their competitors.

I thank the Secretary of State for her answer and for visiting me and my colleagues in Stoke-on-Trent last Friday. For industries such as ceramics and businesses such as Ibstock Brick in my constituency, which has two sites—at Chesterton and Parkhouse—does she agree that it is essential that we put in a robust regime of tariffs when we have countries that do not respect the rules-based order and threaten to flood our market with dumped or subsidised products?

One of our aims in a US trade deal will be to bring down the tariffs on ceramics. When I was in Stoke-on-Trent, I heard that those producers face a tariff of 28% on their fantastic crockery. We want to bring that down so that we can have more jobs in Stoke-on-Trent. We will also establish the trade remedies authority, which will take a tough line on dumping from the anti-competitive activities of other nations.

These are changing times for all regions of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as we get towards 31 January. Will the Secretary of State further outline what discussions have taken place with the newly restored Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive with regard to trade and tariffs within Northern Ireland, and on its behalf?

I am pleased to tell the hon. Gentleman that there will be a ministerial forum this afternoon to talk about that issue. We will make sure that Northern Ireland is completely involved in our agenda, because we want our independent trade policy, our tariff policy and our trade remedies policy to follow the priorities across the United Kingdom.

I join my hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Aaron Bell) in thanking the Secretary of State for visiting Stoke-on-Trent last week. Does she agree that for industries such as ceramics, it is essential that we have a robust regime of tariffs to make sure that we guard against countries who want to undermine the rules-based system?

My hon. Friend is right: we cannot allow dumping practices to go undealt with, and the trade remedies authority will be there to take a tough line in areas such as ceramics. Because we are leaving the European Union, we have the opportunity to have a policy that reflects the needs of the UK and the priorities of UK consumers and UK manufacturers. I am determined to have that, but we must also seek to lower the tariffs on exports for our producers, because we want to see British ceramics, particularly from Stoke-on-Trent, on tables around the world.