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UK Ports of Entry

Volume 672: debated on Thursday 5 March 2020

9. What recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the preparedness of UK ports of entry to facilitate international trade after the transition period. (901125)

We are using the transition period to ensure that the UK rises to the challenges of leaving the European Union while being ready to take advantage of all the benefits. Work on ports preparedness is being led by the Cabinet Office’s border delivery group. I remind the House and onlookers that tonight is the closure of our consultation on the new UK global tariff.

Can the Minister ensure that virtual free ports will be considered during the free ports bidding process, so that we can protect existing jobs in the north-east as well as creating new ones?

The hon. Member makes an extremely good point, and that is one of the points of the free port policy. We launched the consultation last month with the Command Paper, and it closes on 20 April. It would not be proper for me to make comments specifically about the location of future free ports, but the Tyne port in particular is very important to this country, as it is the second largest vehicle port in the nation. Free ports are designed to support jobs, trade and investment.