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Leaving the EU: Welsh Economy

Volume 635: debated on Wednesday 31 January 2018

8. What recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect on the Welsh economy of the UK leaving the EU. (903569)

I have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues on new opportunities that leaving the European Union brings to Wales and the UK. Wales was the fastest-growing nation in the UK in 2016 and is well placed to seize the opportunities presented.

Will the Minister reassure the House and businesses across Wales by confirming that arrangements will be put in place to ensure that new trade deals negotiated after leaving the European Union do not undermine devolved policies?

The hon. Gentleman points to the opportunities for new trade deals, which are exciting for every part of the United Kingdom. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade has re-established the UK’s Board of Trade. We have the privilege of having Lord Rowe-Beddoe, a former chairman of the Welsh Development Agency, as well as Heather Stevens, a very successful business lady, who is part of the Board of Trade and will be looking after Welsh interests on all occasions.

How will the Secretary of State guarantee that integrated supply chains with the EU will be preserved when Britain leaves the European Union?

The hon. Gentleman knows that we are working to deliver a trade agreement that leads to frictionless trade between the UK and the European Union, but I would also point out that, as 80% of Welsh exports go to the rest of the UK, maintaining the integrity of the UK market should be our first priority.