During International Trade Questions this week I quizzed the Secretary of State on the assurances he could give to sheep farmers in Delyn that they will still be able to trade with Europe following 29 March 2019.
As it stands we only have confusion. Over 90% of our sheep products are exported to Europe and beyond and the lack of clarity is putting one of our most important industries at risk.
The Secretary of State only provided a glib response. The Government’s Withdrawal Agreement does not give the guarantees we need for the rural economy. Indeed, it is reported that even the Secretary of State has doubts and wants their to be a free vote to allow members of the Government to vote against it. If he doesn’t have faith in his own policy I cannot see why I should.
Last week, President Donald Trump unilaterally imposed tariffs on all steel and aluminium products imported into the United States. Only one country has so far been exempt – Australia – meaning that the UK will now face a tariff on all our steel and aluminium products that we want to export to America.
I asked the Secretary of State for Trade – who places much value on the UK’s ability to strike a trade deal with the United States – if he was informed by the his counterparts in the US that these tariffs would be imposed.
Tariffs are bad for businesses, which means they are bad for jobs. We need to ensure that protectionism of this sort doesn’t spread. If this triggers a trade war we will all be worse off.
The leaked letter from the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson MP, to the Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, saying that it is not job of the UK Government to maintain no border between Northern Ireland and the Republic was reckless.
One of the core components of the peace agreement in Northern Ireland is that there shall be no border on the island of Ireland. Labour launched an Urgent Question to get to the bottom of this matter.
I wanted to know what action the Government will be taking to ensure that there is no border between Holyhead, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. These are three key markets for our local economy and if we have borders erected it will be to the detriment of jobs.
The Farmers Union of Wales released a statement this week saying that denying Wales access to the Single Market and Customs Union would have catastrophic consequences. I wanted a clear response from the Government on this concerning statement. A response I did not get.
Many farmers in Delyn are concerned about access to a large market on our doorstep and want assurances that they will still have tariff free access. Many will be striking trade deals next March for 2019 onwards and the lack of detail from this Government is putting their livelihoods at risk.