As part of preparations for the end of the Brexit transition period, the Government have promised to ‘rollover’ the trade deals we have with 40 countries and trade blocs through our membership of the EU.
So far, it’s taken the Tories four years to secure trade agreements covering just under half of the total value of these deals. There are just four months in which to secure the rest – and they haven’t agreed any so far this year. So yesterday I quizzed the International Trade Minister on the issue.
In his response, he got his numbers wrong – telling me that they’ve sorted out the ‘vast majority’, although the government’s own website says otherwise.
I asked the Tories to correct the record, and the International Trade Secretary fudged it – confusing the number of countries with the value of the trade. With deals with huge trading partners, like Canada and Singapore outstanding, this is yet another example of Tory bluster trumping facts.
I’ll continue to press the International Trade Secretary to take responsibility and secure the deals to protect jobs, communities and businesses as we emerge from the Covid crisis.