The US Government has threatened to impose a tariff to our steel A pause in the imposition of the tariff has been negotiated by the European Union but I wanted to know what the UK Government is doing to ensure the US knows that the 15% of all UK steel sent to America should be permanently exempt from any tariff.
The Secretary of State pointed out the flawed thinking of the US – as much of the steel we produce is of high quality and not made in the States or is used for their defence programmes. But this comes from the same Secretary of State who has promised everyone that he can secure the best trade deal ever imagined between the UK and US. He is proving this is not as easy as he first predicted.
Once again I sought clarification on how the UK Government will know what is being transported between the different parts of the UK and countries outside of our borders when we leave the Customs Union and Single Market.
The Prime Minister gave a short and unhelpful answer just asserting that you don’t need a Customs Union or Single Market. But this fails to take into account British businesses need to know if items coming into the UK meet our standards or how products leaving the UK to our EU neighbours meet their standards once we leave. Once again we have muddled thinking from the UK Government.
Following comments made by the Transport Secretary over the weekend on there being no border checks following Brexit, an Urgent Question was secured by Labour to test the Government on their proposals.
As ever, I am concerned that the Government has no plans on the impact of a customs border between the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. As it stands the Government keep refering to ‘technology’ as being the solution but we still have no idea what this means.
Once again I pressed how the Government would ensure that jobs aren’t lost due to customs checks. Once again I got no hard response. I want to see the UK be part of a Customs Union with the EU to ensure that the Good Friday Agreement is maintained and so that no border is created between the nations and regions of the UK.
It was announced by the Prime Minister that the Government will no longer be introducing its White Paper – which is a consultation document on proposed legislation – until October 2018.
This doesn’t leave very much time for Parliament to debate and amendment the legislation before leaving the EU. If the document is published in October this year the consultation will have to run for around 12 weeks, meaning that the Bill is produced until early 2019. The Government then has three months to get it through both the House of Commons and Lords before we leave the EU. This will no doubt be a contentious Bill and hopes of passing it within that tiny time frame is ridiculous.
As you can hear the rest of the Commons didn’t think it possible either.