I have regular meetings with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade covering a number of issues, not the least of which is our border arrangements. Import controls are necessary to keep our borders safe and secure, and to ensure that we treat all partners equally, especially when it involves collecting the right customs, VAT and other excise duties.
I am grateful to the Minister for answering this question. During the referendum, he said that we would be part of a
“free trade zone…from Iceland to the Russian border”,
“full access to the European market”.
However, this month he has been clear that we will lose frictionless trade, and that will introduce red tape and vast impacts on our businesses. How can businesses trust his future pronouncements? Will he clarify when he abandoned the idea of frictionless trade?
The whole point of our negotiations with the European Union, now that we have left, is to ensure that we do have a comprehensive free trade agreement that will ensure there are no tariffs, quotas or quantitative restrictions. That is entirely consistent with the broader approach towards free trade, which does indeed exist from Iceland to the Russian border.