Steel Safeguards

Jacob Young Excerpts
Wednesday 29th June 2022

(1 year, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Anne-Marie Trevelyan Portrait Anne-Marie Trevelyan
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I am at risk of repeating myself, but I will do so for clarity. I was unable to make it to the Committee this morning because I was dealing with those international relationships and having really important conversations. Obviously I was not able to do that until I had made a final determination as a result of those. The information was passed to the Committee yesterday that I would not be able to make it, once we knew that you had granted a statement for today, Mr Speaker. That was the point at which I was able to make a final determination, and then of course I needed to start talking to my WTO friends and colleagues. The timeframe is such that one thing comes from another, but we are always at the disposal of the Chair to determine when those statements are able to be made in the House.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young (Redcar) (Con)
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Seven years ago Teesside faced the single biggest event of the industrialisation, with the collapse of the SSI steelworks and the loss of 3,000 jobs overnight. I wish to pay tribute to my predecessor, Anna Turley, for her work in trying to prevent the closure of that plant. Since this Prime Minister took office, the Government have stood up for our industry with support for British steel protecting 900 jobs in Redcar and Cleveland and extending the safeguards last year and again this year, as we have heard today. Can I urge the Secretary of State to continue her support for the steel sector, recognising how crucial steel is as a strategic national asset?

Anne-Marie Trevelyan Portrait Anne-Marie Trevelyan
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My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and I also pay tribute to his predecessor, whom I know well and who was a great champion. We have discussed some of the challenges that the steel industry continues to face, and this Government are absolutely focused on finding the right solutions for them. I am pleased that the category 17 safeguard, which we will keep, should at least help the steelworks in my hon. Friend’s constituency to play on a level playing field with the products that it makes.

Transgender Conversion Therapy

Jacob Young Excerpts
Monday 13th June 2022

(2 years ago)

Westminster Hall
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Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn
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I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that intervention, but I am afraid I do not agree. There is nothing in the proposals and the consultation that the Government set out to suggest that there would be an impact on freedom of speech. Although a lot of the practices—a point that I was going to come on to in a minute—are already outlawed, there are many forms of conversion practices that are not, which is why a ban is necessary.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young (Redcar) (Con)
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In relation to the previous point, does my hon. Friend agree with me the fact that so many respondents to the Government’s survey said that they had either been offered, or been subject to, conversion therapy shows that conversion therapy does exist for trans people?

Elliot Colburn Portrait Elliot Colburn
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I totally agree. The national LGBT survey in 2018 showed that trans people were twice as likely as LGB people to be offered, and to undergo, conversion therapy. Those practices can take many forms, but the evidence that has been presented shows that they all have the same aim—and all are harmful. That aim is to supress or change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It is true that many of the harrowing stories we have heard about things such as corrective rape and physical assault, which many survivors have come forward to share, are already illegal.

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Alyn Smith Portrait Alyn Smith
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I will take the intervention at face value as a genuine expression of concern. This is not an easy subject—I would be the first to acknowledge that—but that is why we need to make sure that the legislation is right. That is why we need to ensure that the line is drawn at the right place. I said in my opening remarks—I have them here—that this is not about infringing the right of anyone to seek advice and have an honest conversation, but there is a world of difference between that and the quackery and harm perpetrated by people who set themselves up in business doing this stuff.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young
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I draw the attention of my hon. Friend the Member for Don Valley (Nick Fletcher) to the speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton (Alicia Kearns), who talked about forcing someone to change their gender identity or their sexual orientation. Is this not all about the intention behind the conversation? There is no problem with a parent having a conversation with their child, but if someone enters a conversation wanting to force someone to do something that is contrary to what they are, that is crossing the line.

Alyn Smith Portrait Alyn Smith
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I am grateful for the hon. Gentleman’s intervention. I am a solicitor, if we go back far enough. The law is well used to dealing with shades of grey. In many other situations—aggravated hate crime; discrimination; words that mean one thing in one context and a different thing in another—it is perfectly possible to come up with a proper legislative framework to protect people and the honest conversations that he is rightly concerned to see protected. I share that concern and would work with him on it.

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Kate Osborne Portrait Kate Osborne
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I do agree. My right hon. Friend referred to section 28. Interestingly, the first march I went on as an activist many years ago—more than I care to remember —was in opposition to section 28.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young
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It is touching to hear the hon. Lady make those historical references. Does she agree that the rights of LGB people were only won by LGBT people, and that it if were not for the T people, she and I would not have the rights that we enjoy today?

Kate Osborne Portrait Kate Osborne
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I absolutely agree with the hon. Gentleman. There should be no division, as the hon. Member for Darlington (Peter Gibson) said.

We know from numerous studies and polls that transphobes are in the minority, but unfortunately, that minority is hardening and seems to have this Government’s ear. As casual prejudice fills the airwaves and column inches, the Government’s failure to deliver a ban on conversion therapy for trans people sends a terrible message. Conversion therapy causes serious mental health problems for those who undergo it, and it has driven people to suicide. Trans people are twice as likely to have been offered conversion therapy as those who are cis, gay or bi, but the Government seem to exclude them even though they are the very people whom the ban would help the most. In Britain today, around half of trans people attempt suicide before the age of 26. Many face harassment, bullying and discrimination daily.

As my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Luke Pollard) mentioned, trans people and their very existence are not up for debate. Under the Prime Minister, this Government’s strategy is to harness prejudice and stoke a culture war, pitting communities against each other. It is not surprising that the Tories are undermining trans rights. If the Conservative party had a motto, it would probably be, “Never let basic humanity get in the way of a potential vote winner.” If the proposed legislation does not include trans people, it will not go far enough. It is essential to close all loopholes to prevent the possibility of this abuse continuing.

The Government know and have clearly acknowledged that conversion therapy is abuse, yet they seem willing to allow an entire community to continue to be subjected to it. History has judged how wrong some of our politicians have been in the past, and it will judge those who fail to protect our trans community now.

Oral Answers to Questions

Jacob Young Excerpts
Thursday 21st April 2022

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Anne-Marie Trevelyan Portrait Anne-Marie Trevelyan
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Although there was indeed a drop in exports during covid, we have seen a 10% increase in the last quarter, which is very welcome. I am always happy to meet the hon. Gentleman, as he knows, to discuss any particular businesses, but the export support service, which has now been running for a number of months, is there to support SMEs in particular if they have issues with a country in Europe with which they want to trade. The team has also been focusing on supporting businesses with Russian and Belarusian activities in the past month, especially on supporting them to find alternative supply chains. The export strategy, which we published in October last year, is bringing together a whole series of tools to help those SMEs to discover new markets, and, indeed, to use the ones that now have more prospects thanks to the FTAs that we have.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young (Redcar) (Con)
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I congratulate the Secretary of State and her Department on their success in lifting the US 232 tariffs on UK steel and aluminium. Does she not agree that this flexibility to boost global trade afforded to us by our departure from the European Union is exactly why my constituents voted for Brexit?

Anne-Marie Trevelyan Portrait Anne-Marie Trevelyan
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I congratulate my hon. Friend on his recent marriage, which is very exciting. Let me just note that those of us on the Front Bench begin to feel very old when our youngest Members start taking this great step of confidence, which exactly reflects how my hon. Friend has campaigned for his constituents on the matter of steel. It has been a real pleasure to be able to bring the section 232 tariffs to a conclusion so incredibly quickly, working with my US counterparts and understanding that our UK-US relationship is critical not only to trade, but across so many of those inter-related activities. We are working closely together on trade and security matters as we deal with the terrible challenges in Ukraine.

Oral Answers to Questions

Jacob Young Excerpts
Thursday 21st October 2021

(2 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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The issue is that as part of the EU we had to focus on trade with the EU and we were hampered in setting our own agreements and policies with the rest of the world. Now we can trade with the rest of the world as well as the EU. We have had difficulties with covid and with all sorts of things that global trade has had to cope with, but we will recover, as will the rest of the world. When the numbers start going the right way, as they already are, and exceed previous years, I hope that Opposition Members will start to talk this country up rather than down.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young (Redcar) (Con)
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It is fantastic that the UK has already agreed trade deals with almost 70 countries, plus the EU, that accounted for £744 billion-worth of UK bilateral trade in 2020. Does my right hon. Friend agree that this is firm evidence of our striking out into the world and seizing the new opportunities that we now have ahead of us outside of the EU that will benefit Teesside businesses in the long run?

Penny Mordaunt Portrait Penny Mordaunt
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I thank my hon. Friend for all the work he is doing to ensure that businesses can capitalise on these new opportunities. We need to give them the tools to do the job and help them to break into new markets, but the opportunities are immense, and I thank all colleagues who are helping us to achieve those ambitions and supporting businesses, particularly small businesses, in their constituencies.

Protecting Britain’s Steel Industry

Jacob Young Excerpts
Monday 21st June 2021

(2 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Emily Thornberry Portrait Emily Thornberry
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The hon. Gentleman is quite right, and I will be developing that point in a few minutes.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young (Redcar) (Con)
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Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Emily Thornberry Portrait Emily Thornberry
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I will take one more intervention, especially from the hon. Gentleman whose constituents will want to know what he has to say this evening.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young
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I thank the right hon. Lady for giving way. Can she be clear in the point that she is making? Is she questioning the independence of the TRA and would she rather have a politically affiliated body determining trade policy?

Emily Thornberry Portrait Emily Thornberry
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I would rather that we had a body that looked after the hon. Gentleman’s constituents and defended the steel industry.

Even so, let us not forget a fundamental flaw at the heart of the TRA’s recommendations: the failure to understand that the safeguards put in place by the EU were deliberately intended to provide comprehensive protection across the steel industry as a whole, recognising that if one product line is exposed to cut-price imports, the competitiveness of the whole industry is immediately undermined. The TRA has either not understood that basic concept or has deliberately chosen to ignore it. Either way, I defy anyone in this House tonight to argue that the TRA’s recommendations must be considered sacrosanct either because of its objectivity or because of its expertise. I am afraid that if Members read the Financial Times interview or studied its conclusions on steel safeguards, it is clear that the TRA has been found sorely lacking on both fronts, as many of us predicted that it would

That brings me to the second of the three major issues before us this evening. If the TRA’s recommendations are flawed, what can the Secretary of State do about it? As the House will be aware, as the legislation stands, it does not allow the Secretary of State to reject the TRA’s recommendations in order to retain the existing state safeguards. The motion before us proposes emergency legislation, allowing the Secretary of State to do exactly that. The reason that we would argue that such an unusual move is a necessity is not just because of the urgent need to stop those steel safeguards expiring at the end of the month, but because this review process has exposed three fundamental problems in the remit of the TRA’s investigation that cannot have been intended by Parliament.

First, it makes no sense whatsoever for the TRA to look at the UK’s safeguards on steel in isolation from what the rest of the world is doing with theirs and from what is happening in global steel markets. Let us consider the position that we are at present: eight of the world’s 10 largest steel markets have safeguards currently in place, with the US and the EU recently confirming that they are certainly keeping theirs. At the same time, China is heading towards the 1 billion tonne mark for annual production and still has more than 300 million tonnes in spare capacity. In that context, it would be utter madness to remove half our current safeguards and expose our country to a flood of cheap imports from China and elsewhere at exactly the time that those suppliers are desperately hunting for an unprotected market. Yet the TRA has not given any consideration to the international context, because it is apparently not in its remit to do so.

Secondly, it makes no sense whatsoever for the TRA to conduct an economic test on the need for these safeguards that does not take into account the impact of removing them on the 34,000 well-paid, good-quality skilled jobs for steelmakers in Wales, Yorkshire and Humberside, the midlands, the north-east and elsewhere, and the 42,000 more in supply chain roles. These are exactly the kinds of jobs in exactly the kind of communities that the Government keep telling us are essential to level up our country, and yet the direct threat to those jobs and communities that dropping our safeguards would create is not one of the factors considered by the TRA, because it is apparently not in its remit to do so.

Thirdly, it makes no sense whatsoever for the TRA to make recommendations affecting the British steel industry without considering the knock-on implications for our defence procurement programmes, for the construction of critical national infrastructure, and for the delivery of our net zero emission targets. All those major considerations for the Government will be dramatically altered depending on whether we are producing the majority of our steel we need here in Britain or importing it from abroad. Yet the potential impacts of its recommendations on those different areas were not among the factors considered by the TRA, because apparently it was not in its remit to do so.

That leaves us with a fundamental dilemma: either the TRA’s remit needs to change so that it can consider the global context for its recommendations and take into account their impact on our jobs, communities and regions, our national defence, our civil infrastructure and our climate change objectives, or, alternatively, the Secretary of State’s powers need to change to allow her to weigh up all those factors against the TRA’s analysis and make a decision, with Parliament’s approval, based on our overall national interest, on what is best for Britain. Which of those two options would be better is a discussion for another day, but one thing that we should be certain of now is that the Government cannot proceed with a decision on steel safeguards on the basis of recommendations by the TRA that have not even taken into account some of the most crucial factors at the heart of that decision. On that basis alone, I hope that Members in all parts of this House will agree on the need for emergency legislation to allow the Secretary of State to reject the TRA’s recommendations, extend the current safeguards beyond 30 June, and allow time for discussion about the right course of action for the future.

I said at the outset that the third and most fundamental issue affecting our debate today is the approach of the Secretary of State herself to the future of the British steel industry and whether she will accept our invitation to move emergency legislation, if that is how we vote tonight. If you had asked me that question seven years ago, Madam Deputy Speaker, I would have said yes. Back then, you may remember, the Secretary of State burst on to the political scene with an impassioned cry for us to buy more pears, apples and cheese grown and made here in Britain, and scathing criticism of those who thought that our food production could be outsourced overseas instead. But now she reserves her fury for the British farming industry and all of us in this House who oppose the deal that she has signed to flood our market and undercut our farmers with cheap and cruelly produced Australian meat.

In the past seven years, the Secretary of State has seemingly been fully captured by the free trade dogma that insists on the right of the consumer to choose the cheapest product available from anywhere in the world and rails against any interference with that right, whether it is the maintenance of tariff safeguards to protect domestic producers, concerns about slave labour and human rights abuses, or the cruelty to animals and carbon admissions that are so often the hidden cost of cheap imports. Because the Secretary of State will have no truck with such concerns, she has become the hero of the right-wing free trade think-tanks—the ones that hanker after the supposed improvements in productivity and efficiency if only our NHS was forced to compete, the ones that openly talk about the benefits of destroying the British farming industry so as to end subsidies for wildlife conservation and free up more land for developers, and the ones that inevitably are equally scathing about Government support for the British steel industry or the retention of our safeguard tariffs.

Listen to Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, who said:

“It’s unsustainable for the government to prop up a steel industry which is no longer competitive internationally.”

Listen to Matthew Kilcoyne, deputy director of the Adam Smith Institute, who described Government funding for the steel industry as

“throwing…cash into a burning furnace”.

These are not some obscure figures on the fringes of public life or some right-wing rent-a-quotes trying to get their names into The Telegraph. These are hand-picked members of the Secretary of State’s own strategic trade advisory group—her personal body of external advisers, whose sole representative from manufacturing industry is not from British Steel or Make UK, but is the director of JCB construction, and guess what? He is the biggest Tory party donor.

These are the voices the Secretary of State is listening to when it comes to safeguarding tariffs, when it comes to protecting British farming and when it comes to protecting British Steel. So no wonder the two acolytes she appointed to run the Trade Remedies Authority think their job is to promote free trade rather than to defend domestic producers, and have recommended this wrong-headed decision on steel as a result, and no wonder the Secretary of State, who said last month that she would do “whatever is necessary” to protect the UK steel industry, will not even attend this debate to discuss how she might go about doing that. If she refuses to act to protect our safeguard tariffs, it will be an unconscionable betrayal of Britain’s steel communities—one that they will never forget and one they will never forgive. What will make it all the worse is that she, her think-tank allies and the Trade Remedies Authority are just plain wrong when it comes to the British steel industry. Opposition Members see a bright future for our steel communities, a green future and a future that creates wealth for our country and well-paid, good-quality jobs in our regions if we have the will to make that future happen.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young
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Will the right hon. Lady give way?

Emily Thornberry Portrait Emily Thornberry
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No, I will not give way at this stage. I am going to finish the speech.

If we do wish to do so in Britain, we can wean ourselves entirely away from the cheap imported steel that causes 50% extra carbon emissions, and instead have a British steel industry that leads the world in the development of hydrogen steel technology and decarbonised steel production, and by doing so leads our country to the achievement of net zero. If we choose to do so in Britain, we can put home-produced steel at the heart of every defence contract and infrastructure project from warships to wind farms, and use British steel to build our way back to full economic recovery. If we choose to do so in Britain, we can make the jobs in our steel industry the foundation for creating thousands more well-paid, good-quality, skilled jobs in other communities that need them, as we apply our skills and strengths in steelmaking to the new opportunities created by the green industrial revolution.

However, to make all those things happen, there is something the Government must contribute. It is just as precious as public funding, but so much easier to provide, and that is a simple injection of certainty and stability. When our steel companies go into the world and seek investment in their future, they must be able to say with total confidence that the British Government have their back, will support them when necessary and will always do whatever it takes to defend them against unfair trade or a surge in cheap imports. That type of certainty and confidence is the minimum that our steel industry has the right to expect from their Government, and if it cannot get that from them, Parliament must seek to provide it instead.



That is the fundamental choice before us all tonight, but especially Conservative Members who may be debating with their conscience which way to vote. Will they side with the communities of Scunthorpe, Cardiff and Sheffield, who see a bright future for their industry, or will they side with the fanatics from the right-wing think tanks who see no future at all? Will they provide our steel industry with the safeguards that it needs to build for the future with confidence, or will they leave it to sink or swim in a flood of cheap imports from China?

I have no idea where the Secretary of State stands on that choice, because she has chosen not even to be here this evening, and has so far refused to take the emergency action that the Opposition have instead been forced to propose on her behalf. But if this House decides overwhelmingly to back the Opposition motion tonight and require the Secretary of State to maintain the safeguards, I believe that by sheer weight of pressure we can force her hand to do so, inject confidence back into our steel industry and forge a path for our steel communities to the brighter future that awaits them.

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Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young (Redcar) (Con)
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I will confine my remarks to the three obstacles that the UK steel industry faces. The first, the subject at the heart of today’s debate, is global competition and the impact of tariffs. I wholeheartedly agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Penistone and Stocksbridge (Miriam Cates): we support free global trade, but when it comes to steel making, there is currently no free market. Almost every nation that makes steel does so with some form of subsidy or trade barrier, so we need to consider a sensible response.

This is a complex issue, and the conclusions of the independent TRA do not seem to reflect the reality of the interdependence of our industry. The current situation is to the detriment of the UK, so we need to consider how we combat that unfairness. I wholeheartedly welcome the Minister’s comments about reviewing the powers of the Secretary of State.

The second obstacle is UK procurement. It was said in our previous debate that we must build back better, but why not build back British? More than 2 million tonnes of steel are estimated to be used in HS2—let us use UK-sourced steel and make HS2 a project that benefits every corner of the UK, not just London to Birmingham. The Prime Minister’s 10-point plan requires steel for increasing our offshore wind capacity and for building electric cars, carbon capture, utilisation and storage plants and nuclear power plants—let us build them with British steel.

The third obstacle is energy pricing. I am really pleased to see the Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth in her place, because we have spoken about the matter many times before. In the steel and chemical industries, energy costs remain uncompetitive in comparison with the continent. These are energy-intensive industries: whether they are producing steel through blast or electric arc technology, or breaking chemical bonds to drive chemical reactions, they need a lot of energy. The problem will only increase as we switch to lower-carbon fuels, so I urge the Government to come forward with a strategy to level the playing field in this area, too.

I commend the Government for their commitment to UK steel so far. The Labour party pretends that the Government do not care about our industry, but if it were not for this Prime Minister—and this Chancellor, when he was Chief Secretary to the Treasury—we would have barely any steel left in Redcar and Cleveland. It was their commitment to seeing through the sale of British Steel in Lackenby, Skinningrove and Scunthorpe that protected the thousands of jobs that depended on it.

On his visit to Redcar and Cleveland, the Prime Minister said:

“I think British steel is a very important national asset. I think the fact that we make steel in this country is of strategic long-term importance”.

I wholeheartedly agree. I want us to be stronger. We have to be strategic. We need to continue to back our steel industry.

Free Trade Agreement Negotiations: Australia

Jacob Young Excerpts
Thursday 17th June 2021

(2 years, 12 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss
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I was hoping that the SNP spokesman would welcome today’s announcement about the Airbus-Boeing dispute and the fact that we have continued to suspend the tariffs on Scotch whisky in a deal with the US.

I have much more faith than the hon. Gentleman does in Scotland’s beef and lamb industry. It is some of the best beef and lamb in the world. I am excited about the opportunities in the trans-Pacific partnership, which will be eating 25% of the world’s meat by 2030. The hon. Gentleman should be looking forward to those opportunities rather than harking back to the time when we were members of the EU. He needs to look at where the fast-growing markets of the future are; that is where Scotland’s opportunities lie.

I can absolutely confirm that ISDS is not part of our trade agreement with Australia, and I assure the hon. Gentleman that no hormone-injected beef will be allowed into the UK.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young (Redcar) (Con)
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G’day, Mr Speaker.

I thank the Secretary of State for this gold-standard trade deal with our long-standing friends and allies. She will know that Teesside has a long history of exporting to Australia—including the Sydney Harbour bridge, which was moved from Dorman Long’s Teesside steel plant. Will my right hon. Friend confirm that this trade deal will mean simpler trade for chemicals, cars and steel; cheaper prices for my constituents; and easier travel to and from Australia?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss
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My hon. Friend is absolutely right: Teesside is absolutely set to benefit from this deal. There will be a removal of tariffs on products such as steel and chemicals—no British product will face tariffs into Australia. The north-east is already incredibly successful in exporting 10,000 cars to Australia every year. The tariff on cars will be removed, allowing even more of our fantastic exports down under.

Oral Answers to Questions

Jacob Young Excerpts
Thursday 15th April 2021

(3 years, 2 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ranil Jayawardena Portrait Mr Jayawardena
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I am aware of this matter and am keen to make sure that businesses can make the most of our transition to trade agreements, so I will look into it. I look forward to working with my hon. Friend and my Tunisian counterpart to open up and promote opportunities for British and Tunisian businesses; more trade means more jobs.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young (Redcar) (Con)
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What recent estimate she has made of the number of jobs in Teesside that are delivered by international trade.

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Secretary of State for International Trade (Elizabeth Truss)
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My hon. Friend will be delighted that Teesside will benefit from one of eight new freeports, unlocking billions of pounds of private sector investment, and it will also help British businesses not just in his constituency but across the whole of the UK, including the 300,000 export-linked jobs in the north-east.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young
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I thank the Secretary of State for her answer and for her support for Teesside exporters. From raw chemicals to plastics and steel, Teesside manufacturers rely on global trade, so I am grateful to her Department for the work it has done, alongside Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen, to bring more jobs, including in her Department, to the Tees valley. Can she outline when we might start to see these DIT jobs coming to Teesside, and what is her message to the people of the Tees valley ahead of the important elections next month?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss
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My message is that Ben Houchen is doing a fantastic job, as is my hon. Friend. I am delighted that we are establishing a new trade hub in Darlington, which is only half an hour’s drive from my hon. Friend’s constituency. There are over 4,000 jobs in export-related industries in Redcar, including in the chemicals industry, and we will be doing even more to support them with the new Darlington trade hub.

Continuity Trade Agreements: Parliamentary Scrutiny

Jacob Young Excerpts
Tuesday 17th November 2020

(3 years, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Urgent Questions are proposed each morning by backbench MPs, and up to two may be selected each day by the Speaker. Chosen Urgent Questions are announced 30 minutes before Parliament sits each day.

Each Urgent Question requires a Government Minister to give a response on the debate topic.

This information is provided by Parallel Parliament and does not comprise part of the offical record

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
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I remind the hon. Member that the deals that we have rolled over represent around three quarters of the programme. We have updated businesses, as we have updated this House, after each of those deals to make sure that they are kept apprised. When it comes to Canada, of course, this is a live negotiation. We have contact happening every day with Canada. It is worth remembering that Canada actually walked away from the negotiation in 2019, and did not return to the table until July this year. As soon as Canada returned, we put in place a negotiating team and we got on with it.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young (Redcar) (Con) [V]
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Trade, and the jobs, investment and prosperity it brings, is an incredibly powerful way to level up our country and transform left-behind places such as Redcar and Cleveland. Does my right hon. Friend agree that promoting trade and helping our businesses to export is the best way to rebuild and reshape our economy?

Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
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I thank my hon. Friend and he is absolutely right. We have talked very much about the trade policy aspects of this Department. We are engaging very strongly with the US, for example, on steel tariffs. I know that is something his constituents will keep an ongoing interest in, making sure that those unnecessary and counterproductive tariffs are removed. But when it comes to the wider picture, the Department for International Trade more broadly works incredibly hard at promoting both the exports and inward investment that I know will be really important to his Redcar constituents.

Oral Answers to Questions

Jacob Young Excerpts
Thursday 8th October 2020

(3 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Greg Hands Portrait Greg Hands
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I thank the right hon. Lady for that question. She is referring, of course, to the Cotonou agreement, which is shortly to expire. There are two things to take away from this. The first is the importance of keeping the continuity of our trading relations with Cameroon. That is very important for the Cameroon economy overall. Secondly, we continue to raise at every level with Cameroon our concern about human rights, both across the country in general and those affecting the anglophone community in the south-west of the country. On the deal itself, there will be no diminution in the human rights clauses of the existing EU deal, which I think is what she is seeking to criticise.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young (Redcar) (Con)
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What progress she has made in securing a free trade agreement with Australia.

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Secretary of State for International Trade (Elizabeth Truss)
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Australia is a key and proud ally of the United Kingdom, a country with shared beliefs in democracy and free trade. We are working closely at pace with our Australian friends to secure a deal that will benefit both countries, and we will reach a gold standard agreement to lead the world in free trade.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young
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My right hon. Friend knows that Teesside has a long history of exporting to Australia, including a small project known as the Sydney harbour bridge. Can she assure me that, as we leave the EU, Redcar and Cleveland, particularly the steel and chemical industry, will be at the forefront of her mind in future trade talks?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss
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Redcar and Cleveland are a key priority as we negotiate the Australia deal. There are 13,000 small and medium-sized enterprises in the United Kingdom that already export to Australia, and I see lots of opportunities for them to benefit from our close trading relationship, including in the areas of steel and chemicals, food and drink and digital and data.

Oral Answers to Questions

Jacob Young Excerpts
Thursday 3rd September 2020

(3 years, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Kieran Mullan Portrait Dr Kieran Mullan (Crewe and Nantwich) (Con)
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What recent steps she has taken to reduce tariffs on UK exports.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young (Redcar) (Con)
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What recent steps she has taken to reduce tariffs on UK exports.

Elizabeth Truss Portrait The Secretary of State for International Trade (Elizabeth Truss)
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We have been pushing hard to remove tariffs in all our trade agreements in order to benefit UK consumers and business, whether the 28% tariff on dinner plates to the US, Japanese tariffs on footwear or the 8% tariff on Tim Tams with Australia.

--- Later in debate ---
Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss
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I congratulate my hon. Friend on his championing of this fantastic ice cream van business. Such vans are indeed a great export and currently face tariffs of up to 5% with some of our negotiating partners. We will certainly be looking at removing those tariffs as well as other tariffs as part of the trade deals we are looking to strike.

Jacob Young Portrait Jacob Young
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The proposed UK global tariffs stand to negatively affect polyethylene terephthalate resin manufacturing in Teesside, which delivers more than 70% of the UK’s PET packaging for critical applications such as food and pharmaceuticals as well as personal protective equipment. The survival of Alpek, the UK’s only producer of PET, is threatened by most favoured nation tariffs on its two main raw materials, despite the fact that there is no domestic production of them. Will the Secretary of State meet me and Alpek in my constituency to hear of the effect those tariffs could have and consider a different direction?

Elizabeth Truss Portrait Elizabeth Truss
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Last week, I visited a number of manufacturing businesses in the north-east, which is a manufacturing powerhouse. My hon. Friend is a huge champion of the industry in his area in Teesside, from chemicals to steel. I would be delighted to meet him and the company to see what can be done to help address its issues.