Over the last month, we have made significant progress to establish the United Kingdom as an independent, free-trading nation. We have agreed in principle a deal with Japan that goes further and faster than the EU deal in areas such as digital and data, food and drink and financial services. We have set out our pathway to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and yesterday we joined the WTO Government procurement agreement, which gives British businesses access to a £1.3 trillion global market.
Just as Israel has signed a peace treaty with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, it is innovating to create an instant covid-19 test that is currently being trialled at European airports. What steps is my right hon. Friend taking to work with innovative Israeli companies in that area?
I congratulate Lord Austin on becoming the new trade envoy to Israel. I am delighted to see the reaction on the Labour Benches—they are obviously very pleased with that appointment. We have already signed a continuity FTA with Israel, and we want to go further in a new free trade agreement in areas such as tech, digital and data. We are two tech superpowers, and there is huge opportunity for British businesses and Israeli businesses to work more closely together.
I was listening to the Secretary of State on the “Today” programme yesterday morning, when she twice repeated the Government’s mantra of wanting a trade deal with the EU just like Canada’s. But the Government will not agree to non-regression clauses on environmental protection or workers’ rights, both of which are in the comprehensive economic and trade agreement—the trade deal between Canada and the EU. The Government also will not commit on state aid beyond WTO rules, while CETA contains stronger agreements on subsidies. Could the Secretary of State share with the House whether the Government are planning to change course and accept those provisions in their deal with the EU, or will she just admit that they do not really want a Canada-style deal at all?
The reality is that what the EU is demanding goes far beyond Canada in terms of an ex-ante regime on state aid, as well as alignment with rules and regulations. We will not accept that. We do want a Canada-style deal. The reality is that the Labour party would not even accept a Canada-style deal with Canada.
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Before I returned to the Department, I was the chair of the trade out of poverty all-party parliamentary group in this place. We have achieved duty free, quota free access for 39 African countries, and only yesterday the Prime Minister appointed 11 new Africa trade envoys. However, what would be unhelpful to our trade relationship with Africa is Labour and SNP Members’ proposals to dictate domestic production standards in the developing world, which has the potential to kill off our trade with those countries. I would ask them to look those countries in the eye when the Ghanaians cannot sell us their cocoa, when the Caribbean cannot sell us bananas, when the Kenyans—
Order. [Interruption.] No, no, no. Minister—and I will say this to both Front Benches—topicals are meant to be short and punchy. They are not meant to be for debating points like other questions. That is why topicals were brought in. Both Front Benches have taken advantage, and none more so than the Minister then. Let us head up to Preston with Sir Mark Hendrick. Come on: calm is needed.
I thank my hon. Friend for his question. Innovation has always given our businesses an edge. Virtual reality and 3D specialist Amazing Interactives in my hon. Friend’s constituency is an example of how innovation can continue to take business and exports forward. Today’s innovators, like Amazing Interactives, will benefit from our new FTAs.
I am absolutely determined to get these tariffs removed. The reality is that the European Union, which the hon. Lady and her colleagues want to rejoin, has failed to sort out this issue with Airbus for 15 years. We now have an opportunity—we have an independent tariff policy starting next year—and I am determined to get those tariffs removed.
I know that many businesses in Warrington are already flying the flag. Earlier this week, I was delighted to learn that Warrington’s ICC Solutions has secured a deal with a major US acquiring bank so that its technology will be used to make card payments safer in America. This company does great work as one of our export champions too. Ultimately, FTAs are going to create better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices for all parts of our country. An ambitious FTA with the US could boost the economy in the north-west by £389 million per year.
Sanctions are a matter for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, and I will pass on the hon. Member’s views to it. However, to answer the first part of her question, the UK has been absolutely robust in its approach to Russia on many fronts, not least the illegal annexation of Ukraine, which we have opposed at all points. We will continue to highlight that injustice at every international forum available.
There are huge opportunities for great Cornish seafood in Japan, Korea, and all of Asia. Our Japan deal will see tariffs reduced on salmon, and the Cornish sardine properly recognised. We are holding a webinar on 26 October to help seafood exporters, including crab exporters, crack the Japanese market.
In each individual trade agreement we consider key issues such as animal welfare. We are consulting closely with the farming industry, including the pig industry, which sees all the offers we put forward in individual deals. Each deal will be scrutinised by the International Trade Committee, and the implications for animal welfare will be independently verified. Parliament will have an opportunity to debate those issues. We take this matter seriously, and as the hon. Lady said, those issues come to light in each individual trade deal.
My hon. Friend is right, and last week I announced a new trade hub in Edinburgh, which will help businesses in Scotland to grow internationally and recover from the impact of coronavirus. The hub will promote opportunities for Scottish companies, and FTAs will provide access to our global network, which is provided in 115-plus markets. There is the support of UK Export Finance—[Interruption.] It is hard to hear oneself think with the chuntering from the Opposition Front Bench. Would it not be great if we saw the same interest in trade, and promoting trade, not least in Scotland, rather than chuntering and sideline messages?
I understand the hon. Lady’s point, but Her Majesty’s Government take their arms export responsibilities very seriously. We assess arms exports in accordance with strict licensing criteria. Those are consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria, and we draw on a lot of available information, including reports from non-governmental organisations and our overseas network in doing so. We will not license the export of equipment where to do so would be inconsistent with the criteria.
First, let me praise my hon. Friend. If the allocation of free ports was based purely on the championing of their case by Members of Parliament, it would be a certainty that he would have one in his area. Yesterday, Her Majesty’s Treasury published the response to the consultation on free ports, which outlined how free ports will help to level up the UK economy, bring in new investment, create high-skilled jobs, and provide new opportunities in ports and the areas around them. Although it will be an open, fair, and transparent process, I have no doubt that the advocacy of my hon. Friend will set a precedent for others and, I hope, lead to a successful outcome for him.
I have met farmers from right across the United Kingdom, and indeed the Trade and Agriculture Commission that we have set up to advise us on these issues is conducting a series of regional meetings with MPs and farmers to get their views, to make sure that our policy on every free trade deal works for farmers right across the country.
Both the Farmers’ Union of Wales and the National Farmers Union Wales are represented on the Trade and Agriculture Commission to ensure that there is a full voice for Welsh farmers on future trade agreements. Under the recent Japan deal, Welsh lamb is now going to be recognised geographical indicator, and we are fighting to get lamb into the US market. There are lots of opportunities out there for Welsh lamb farmers, which we are pursuing vigorously.