The United Kingdom has a huge opportunity, with the presidency of the G7 this year and the election of Dr Ngozi as World Trade Organisation director general, to drive forward free and fair trade. This is more important than ever as we seek to recover from covid and address the issues with the WTO. We hope to make good progress ahead of the ministerial conference in December.
Under the trade track, there will be an opportunity for G7 democracies to work together to help to reform free and fair global trade and shape a bold vision for recovery. In particular, we want to make progress on key issues such as challenging unfair industrial subsidies, dealing with carbon leakage and promoting digital trade.
A key plank of the UK’s future trade strategy must be dedicated to securing our supply of critical minerals, which are vitally important components in the next generation of green renewables and communications equipment. Does the Secretary of State agree with me that in the run-up to the G7 summit, we must take urgent action, first, to work with allies to form a stable, reliable and independent coalition for the mining and processing of critical minerals and, secondly, to bolster the British critical minerals industry for domestic use and for exports?
My hon. Friend makes a very good point. We need to work with allies to make sure we have resilient supply chains of critical minerals and are not reliant on high-risk vendors. That is a priority for this Government, and that is why we are leading Project Defend. I was delighted to see Cornish Lithium for myself on a visit to Cornwall last autumn. Not only will that help us make sure that we have this critical supply of minerals, but it will boost jobs and growth in a very important part of our country.
I welcome the exceptional work done by my right hon. Friend’s Department to ensure that the UK stands as an ambitious internationalist country, and in that regard I would like to know what steps she is taking to improve access for UK exporters to high-growth global markets.
We have signed deals covering 64 countries, including the Caribbean nations, where my hon. Friend is our trade envoy. Total exports to CARICOM—the Caribbean Community—were worth £1.5 billion in the 12 months to September 2020, and I am sure he is actively looking for new opportunities to use those trade deals to benefit people in the Caribbean and here in the United Kingdom.