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Export Opportunities

Volume 699: debated on Thursday 15 July 2021

Opportunities for UK exporters are significant. We are seeing exports rebounding this year and they are expected to grow by a further 8% next year, and further opportunities are being created all around the world as we have rolled over the existing EU deals, plus the EU itself, and started to negotiate other agreements. Of course, the first from-scratch agreement in principle was with Australia. I hope the hon. Gentleman would applaud and support this direction of travel.

That is all very well, but food production businesses in my constituency face a loss of trade, challenges with customs, and damage to their supply chains. They require to operate in today’s land, not some promised land that their business might never survive to be able to see. What is the Minister going to do to ensure that their difficulties are minimised and that support for them is maximised? They need butter today, not a promise of jam tomorrow.

It would very much help if the Scottish Government and the Scottish National party, of which the hon. Gentleman used to be a member, were to support the trade deals that we do to open markets around the world. He ought to know, as should his former colleagues, although I know they are pretty split even among themselves, that actually Scotland trades more with the rest of the world than it does with the EU. He will also note that EU volumes in May were back to the highest level since October 2019, so we are back to pre-pandemic levels with the EU. The teething problems are being dealt with, other problems are being minimised, and Government support is there. [Interruption.] It is about time that Scottish National party Members, who like to chunter from a sedentary position, got behind our exporters and stopped talking them down.