SMEs: US Trade Agreement

Tuesday 12th May 2020

(2 months ago)

Commons Chamber

Department for International Trade
Daisy Cooper Portrait Daisy Cooper (St Albans) (LD) - Hansard

What recent assessment the Government have made of the potential effect of a US trade agreement on SMEs. [902520]

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Secretary of State for International Trade (Elizabeth Truss) - Hansard

We are working on a dedicated small and medium-sized enterprise chapter in the US trade deal to help the UK’s 5.9 million small businesses. Some 31,600 UK SMEs already export to the US, and we want to help them by cutting red tape on customs and tariffs.

Daisy Cooper Portrait Daisy Cooper [V] - Hansard

SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy, but while the US Government are engaging with their SMEs, SMEs in the UK say that there is no equivalent engagement from the UK Government. Will the Secretary of State commit to having a dedicated chapter in every trade deal that they are looking to develop, and will she create a mechanism for SMEs themselves to help shape it?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss - Hansard
12 May 2020, 12:01 a.m.

I thank the hon. Lady for her question. We have been in touch with a number of organisations representing SMEs—for example, the Federation of Small Businesses, which has come out in favour of a US trade deal, saying:

“For small businesses, the US is the number one single market of choice for importers and exporters for the next three years, which is why these negotiations are so critical.”

We are committed to working with businesses of all sizes in this trade process through our expert trade advisory groups, which we have with all industry sectors, and I am very happy to engage with the hon. Lady about how even more SMEs can be involved in this process.