The Department for International Trade is pursuing a range of objectives to put climate and environment at the centre of our departmental ambitions, and we are committed to maximising the economic value of the net zero transition. In addition, UK Export Finance recently published its climate change strategy, setting out its support for green exports and its commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Climate change continues to be the dominant issue that affects people and Governments all over the world, and COP26 needs to show that it has co-ordinated efforts with countries that can help. Would my right hon. Friend ever consider trade sanctions against countries that wilfully ignore their responsibilities, and would a carbon border adjustment be a mechanism she would consider?
As hosts of COP26 and the G7 this year we are determined to promote transformational actions to deliver on the Paris agreement. The UK is building international consensus for ambitious collective action on mitigating those emissions, and promoting policies such as carbon pricing to ensure that private sector incentives are aligned with our goals for an ambitious outcome at COP26. From a trade perspective, any policy option we pursue should be market oriented, World Trade Organisation compliant, evidence based, proportionate, and forward looking.
Last week I attended the G20 trade and investment ministerial meeting, where I made the case for fair and open markets, ahead of the upcoming meeting of the World Trade Organisation. Tomorrow I will be hosting the G7 trade Ministers meeting, where I will make that case again. This week the UK hosted the first global investment summit, where £9.7 billion of investment was secured. Those deals will support green growth and create more than 30,000 jobs across the country. That will deliver for families, workers and businesses across Britain, and set the stage for greater co-operation between the UK Government and businesses around the world on global challenges such as digital trade and climate change. Last night we secured our agreement in principle with New Zealand for our free trade agreement. Trade is a vital part of our plan to level up our country, slashing costs and red tape for exporters, building new trade routes for our services companies, and refocusing Britain on the dynamic economies of Asia-Pacific. With COP26 fast approaching, I will continue to drive forward the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan, using our global networks to drive up green business ambitions, and attracting investment to the UK’s green sectors.
Every mile that every product travels grows its carbon footprint, and the Secretary of State has not denied her Department’s leaked document that states that it prioritises economic growth over climate protection. How will she make representation at COP26 when we hear that we are way off our 1.5 °C target, and place the climate emergency—and it is an emergency—at the top of her priorities, as opposed to being something she does not really believe in?
As I said earlier, economic growth and tackling the challenge of climate change go hand in hand. Finding solutions to those polluting methods of travel is a key area where the UK is leading with innovative businesses, and coming up with solutions regarding aviation fuel, or looking at clean shipping. We have brought international aviation and shipping challenges into carbon budget 6, and we are leading the way in ensuring that, economically as well as being part of the planet’s requirements, we find solutions that mean we can continue to trade, ensuing that those journeys involve clean energy users.
Our fantastic beef and lamb are world renowned for high welfare and environmental standards, and indeed for excellent flavour. The cross-Government GREAT Britain and Northern Ireland campaign gives global brand recognition to the UK’s offer, including our world-class food and drink, which we are proud to promote around the world. Our agricultural food and drink Open Doors campaign, launched earlier this year, is helping UK agribusinesses seize the opportunities presented by our new trade agreements.
I thank the hon. Gentleman for the work that he has done in this area. Clearly, in addition to being compatible with UK law, we have an ambition that the UK will be the safest place in the world to do business. In addition to the legal advice that we commission, we are consulting widely with stakeholders in this sector and in other sectors that are emerging markets. We want to ensure that we are able to expand digital services but also to support the values that need to underpin that sector if it is going to thrive and be successful.
I thank my hon. Friend for being such a champion for his constituency and for this sector in particular. He is right that these deals will make it less costly and much easier to sell those iconic products. I know that he will be encouraging pottery firms in his constituency to ship to Australia and New Zealand, benefiting from the removal of the 5% tariff.
We have been crystal clear on this. We will not compromise our high environmental, animal welfare and food safety standards. That is non-negotiable.
The agreement in principle that we have just secured with New Zealand, in addition to being good in itself, helps pave the way towards the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership, which will be hugely beneficial to my hon. Friend’s constituency. I thank him for the work that he has been doing in championing the Solent freeport, which will benefit Southampton but also another port just slightly further along the coast in which I have more than a passing interest.
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for all that he says. He is right that we should be ambitious not only for the United Kingdom herself, but for the Crown dependencies. The Crown dependencies are an important part of our family and the Department for International Trade has developed a very strong working relationship with both officials and Ministers from their Governments. They are consulted prior to the launching of FTAs and consistently engage with us as the agreements progress towards signature and implementation.
We will always look very closely at any abuses of rights and responsibilities around the world. The agreement the hon. Lady refers to is based on an EU agreement, which provided us and businesses across the country with continuity. It is important that we ensure we balance the objectives across our trade agreements to deliver benefits for British businesses. I know that British businesses across the north-east value greatly that agreement.
Trade with Israel is going from strength to strength. My hon. Friend is right to raise the opportunities in tech in particular for the future. We are probing and scoping for better and deeper trade relations, including a future revised trade agreement that will allow us to do much more in the years ahead.
Because of poorly negotiated ideology-driven free trade deals, farmers will have no choice, if their businesses are to survive, but to resort to more intensive, less climate-friendly farming to compete with cheaper imports from such places as Australia—pretty shameful in the year that the UK hosts COP. Has the Department for International Trade, alongside colleagues in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, analysed how this shift will impact on local pollution levels and our wider greenhouse gas footprint?
I am sorry to hear that very pessimistic question. I do not think our farmers in the UK are going to do that at all. I think they care deeply about animal welfare and I think they care deeply about the environment. I look forward to the press release from the Scottish Government championing the benefits to Scottish businesses that come from the New Zealand trade deal that we talked through with them yesterday. They are considerable and they ought to start talking up their businesses, their farmers and their food and drink sector, rather than doing it down.
May I first welcome the new ministerial team and of course the new parliamentary private secretaries, who I am sure will do as good a job as the previous ones? [Laughter.] I welcome the announcement today of an agreement in principle on the free trade deal with New Zealand. Can my right hon. Friend please confirm that the new free trade deals, such as the one that has been agreed today, are good for consumers and also open up export markets for our farmers?
I thank my hon. Friend for his efforts when he was a PPS, sitting behind the previous team, and I know that he will continue to champion all that is good and exciting and the future benefit for our businesses as we look forward to future trade deals. The opportunities to slash tariffs, create new markets and build preferential relationships with our friends and allies through new trade deals will continue to be something that we see our businesses champion and come to talk to us about. I challenge all colleagues to share with us, as the team, the areas of interest for their businesses and constituencies, so that we know that we are pushing in all those areas— many of which we have discussed today—that are important to our great UK businesses.
Sir David Amess was due to ask a question today and I suspect that, as chair of the all-party British-Maldives parliamentary group, he would have reiterated previous questions about support for the very sustainable fishing industry there. As part of the all-party group on small island developing states, which includes the Maldives, I therefore feel honour-bound to pursue that cause on his behalf. Why are we requiring 20% import tariffs on tuna from the Maldives? It is a highly sustainable sector and other SIDS do not have the same tariffs. What progress is being made on negotiating an economic partnership agreement or finding some other way to remove this unfair barrier?
The hon. Lady rightly refers to our late colleague, Sir David Amess, and his brilliance in championing the issues of people not only across our country, but across the world. His representations on behalf of the Maldives remain firmly lodged in my mind. Along with the Secretary of State, I will certainly continue to be committed to working with our friends and allies across the Commonwealth, including in the Maldives. The Maldives does not benefit from an agreement because the EU had not secured an agreement with the Maldives. I am looking very closely at what we can do now that we have taken back control of our trade policy—[Interruption.] Although Opposition Members do not wish to listen to my answer, I refer to my answer from the last International Trade questions, when I said that we would look very closely at what we could do in that regard.
With nearly 70 free trade deals now signed and the fact that the British people voted to leave political union with the European Union, does the Secretary of State agree that Opposition Members would have kept us in the single market and in the customs union, and we would not have been able to negotiate the free trade deals that we now have around the country, including the one announced with New Zealand? This now puts us in pole position to be the global leader that we are.
As we have heard, human rights are too often forgotten in our trade deals. I believe that the Foreign Secretary is now courting Saudi Arabia even more, to name just one of the countries that has a dubious record. When will the Government start getting serious about human rights and make it clear to countries around the world that until they get their human rights records sorted out, they are not going to get trade deals with the UK?
The hon. Gentleman does not seem to value trade around the world as a force for good. By having strong economic relationships, we can have honest and open conversations with trading partners, and we will continue to do so. In the Gulf, we have the opportunity to trade with a market of 50 million people, 30 million of whom, I believe, are in Saudi Arabia. The opportunities for trade are great and we will not let that sentiment from the Labour party get in the way of more trade for the benefit of our people. At the same time, if he had listened to the Secretary of State earlier, he would have heard that more trade will never come at the expense of our values.
The UK is already one of the most attractive investment destinations in the world and this investment is vital to levelling up the country, particularly investment in new technologies and green innovation. Will the Secretary of State confirm that she is working to encourage this type of investment to help us to progress to net zero emissions and deliver on the Prime Minister’s excellent 10-point plan?
Absolutely. The Global Investment Summit, which we hosted earlier this week in London, saw 200 of the world’s most important investors coming to London to hear how they could be part of the UK’s world leadership in green technologies; £6 billion of investment was committed to offshore wind and millions to many, many different new technologies. We had the opportunity to showcase many of the UK’s leading future solutions to our green challenge and we look forward to continuing to increase that inward investment to help us to deliver them.
This is an important area of policy. I would be very happy to sit down and discuss the Committee’s findings. It will continue to be a key area post COP26 as through the UNFCCC system we try to find something that can work across the planet, to make sure that we can be as effective as possible in using carbon pricing to help drive the green solutions that we all need.
I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the news that she has begun discussions on a new export and investment partnership between the UK and Italy. Does she agree that enhancing our bilateral relationship with Italy will boost export opportunities and investment promotion for our businesses?
I thank my hon. Friend for highlighting an important G20 discussion that I had last week with the Italian Trade Minister. We launched a UK-Italy dialogue, which will be an opportunity to continue to grow the already substantial £14 billion in exports that we have with Italy and the £30 billion in overall bilateral trade so that we can build those relationships with one of our close European allies. We look to do more in bilateral relationships with many of our European neighbours.