Preferential rates: arrangements with countries or territories outside UK

Part of Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:30 pm ar 25 Ionawr 2018.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Kirsty Blackman Kirsty Blackman Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Economy), SNP Deputy Leader, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Economy) 2:30, 25 Ionawr 2018

New clause 2 is, for a variety of reasons, one of the most important measures we will discuss in the three days of debate we will have on the Bill. The clause is very important. I mentioned earlier that reducing tariff rates could have a significant impact on manufacturers in the United Kingdom as well as on agricultural producers, which is a major concern, particularly in more rural parts of the UK.

This measure looks at preferential rates under conditions specified in an arrangement including, for example, quotas, rules of origin and safeguard measures. It is about not just reducing tariff rates for the total number of goods coming in from one country, but reducing the number of those under a certain quota or having a differential rate, depending on the amount of goods coming in—it is a bit more complicated than it may look.

The UK Government will go away and negotiate trade deals with other countries, and the Bill will allow the Treasury to put regulations into place. The UK Government would be more likely to negotiate better trade deals if they knew that they had to justify them to Parliament, get its approval and go through a more rigorous approval process after that. Given the concerns that the Scottish National party has raised consistently about changes that this and previous Governments have made in different areas that we feel have negatively affected either our constituents or manufacturers, producers and companies who work in the United Kingdom, and in Scotland specifically, we do not trust the Government to go away and negotiate trade deals that will be good for outlying parts of the UK, particularly those not in the south-east of England.

If Ministers had to justify themselves to Parliament more—if they had to convince us that they had struck a good deal—it may be that when they were sitting round the negotiating table, they would come up with a better deal because Parliament would be more likely to approve it. That is why new clause 2 is important. Any move by any country away from most-favoured-nation tariffs could have an impact on companies that work in our country as well as on consumers. As parliamentarians, we want to provide a level of protection for them, which is why we will support new clause 2.