12 January 2021 | UK NEWS
The International Trade Secretary set out the priorities for post-Brexit Britain in 2021, opening a debate on “Global Britain” in Parliament yesterday.
On the floor of the Commons, Liz Truss set out the country’s first trade plans as an independent nation since the UK left the EU and, as she pointed out, the first such plans in 48 years.
The plans, she said, would increase the UK’s share in “the global pie” and unlock “great swathes of the world to the best of Britain”.
Ms Truss began by Britain’s record for the number of free trade agreements signed in 2020. She said: “We negotiated trade agreements covering 63 nations and the European Union.”
She added: “We have already reached deals covering 63 per cent of UK trade – well on our way to our manifesto target of 80 per cent in three years.”
Ms Truss said the result of all these deals was £885 billion worth of free trade and that “more than 56,000 new jobs were created” by foreign investment in the UK.
She also stressed the success in securing free trade agreements, saying: “Our new UK Global Tariff will see around 57% per cent of our imports entering our market tariff-free, more than the 44% we had under the EU.”
Ms Truss also set out the priorities for UK trade in the current year. She stated that the processes for agreeing deals with the United States, Australia and New Zealand were underway, saying that the respective countries were in “deep negotiations”.
She continued: “We will apply to one of the most dynamic trading areas on Earth, the Comprehensive and Progressive agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.”
Ms Truss also added that the UK was intent on “deepening our relationships” with other nations, such as Canada, Mexico, South Korea and Israel.
This year, it was announced, the UK would be starting up its “emerging markets trade scheme”, which Ms Truss said “will offer the lowest-income countries a better deal when they are trading with the UK”.
In a parting shot at the EU, she said the scheme will be “more generous than the EU scheme and help those countries onto the ladder towards prosperity through the enterprise and ingenuity of their people”.
Ms Truss added that the first new free ports would be founded this year, which she said would “drive enterprise and growth in port cities and towns across the country as we turbocharge trade around the world”.
Towards the end of her speech, she announced the creation of a “Trade Remedies Authority”, intended to “protect UK industries from unfair practices”.
She ended by saying: “This is Global Britain in action.”