Tuesday 9 May 2023
Business and Trade
UK-Australia and UK-New Zealand Free Trade Agreements
I am pleased to report to the House that the Government expect the UK-Australia and UK-New Zealand free trade agreements to enter into force on 31 May 2023. This was agreed by the Prime Minister, with the Prime Minister of Australia Anthony Albanese and the Prime Minister of New Zealand Chris Hipkins during their respective visits to the United Kingdom.
Our groundbreaking deals are tailored to the UK’s strengths. They can grow the UK economy, benefiting all parts of the United Kingdom. From the date of entry into force, business will be able to access the benefits of the deals, with guidance available on gov.uk.
The agreements remove tariffs on 100% of UK goods exports, slash red tape, guarantee access for UK services and digital trade and will make it easier for UK professionals to live and work in Australia and New Zealand. They are uncompromising in their maintenance of the UK’s high environmental, animal welfare and food safety standards.
There are robust protections for British farmers in both deals, including staging tariff liberalisation for sensitive goods over time. Protecting the NHS is also a fundamental principle of our trade policy, and these deals deliver on the Government’s commitment to that principle. The NHS, the price it pays for medicines, and its services have remained off the table throughout negotiations.
With our strong commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific region, also demonstrated through our conclusion of negotiations to accede to the comprehensive and progressive agreement for trans-Pacific partnership (CPTPP), these deals are instrumental in focusing our efforts and putting our engagement on a long term, strategic footing. They represent a deepening of our relationship with close allies, who share our beliefs in fairness, free enterprise, high standards and the rule of law.
The final statutory instruments to implement the agreements have now been laid.
I would like to thank the House for its support and engagement in the ratification of these free trade agreements.
Energy Security and Net Zero
Energy Infrastructure Planning Projects
This statement concerns an application, made under the Planning Act 2008 by Net Zero Teesside Power Ltd and Net Zero North Sea Storage Ltd, for development consent for a full-chain carbon capture, usage and storage project that includes a new gas-fired electricity generating station with post-combustion carbon capture plant, gas, electricity and water connections and a CO2 pipeline network, located on Teesside.
Under section 107(1) of the Planning Act 2008, the Secretary of State must make a decision on an application within three months of the receipt of the examining authority’s report, unless exercising the power under section 107(3) of the Act to set a new deadline. Where a new deadline is set, the Secretary of State must make a statement to Parliament to announce it. The current statutory deadline for the decision on the Net Zero Teesside project is 10 May 2023.
The Secretary of State has decided to set a new deadline of no later than 14 September 2023 for deciding this application, to enable the Department to seek further information from interested parties and to ensure that there is sufficient time to allow for consideration of this information.
The decision to set the new deadline for this application is without prejudice to the decisions on whether to grant or refuse development consent.