MP Anthony Mangnall: Exciting opportunity to export more of best of Britain across globe

Brexit global business consequences concept with Union Jack, EU flag on balls and world map globe 3D

From January 1, we will regain control of its international trade policy - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Exporting Devon 

14 December 2020 

629 words 

From January 1, our country will regain control of its international trade policy, allowing us to strike our own lucrative new trade agreements with countries across the world for the first time in almost 50 years.

For businesses across our country, from Totnes to Tayside and from Paignton to Pontypridd, this is an exciting opportunity to export more of the best of Britain across the globe.

Devon is already a renowned global exporter. Last year alone, 7,600 businesses across the South West of England exported almost £12 billion in goods to countries outside of the European Union.

But the new trade agreements being negotiated by the Government will help our local exporters to access new markets and increase new markets still further.

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To date, the Government’s priority on international trade has been rolling over into UK law the many existing trade deals to which we are party through our membership of the EU.

While the terms of these agreements are broadly the same as those we already enjoyed, there are significant benefits to be had now that the UK is leading our side of the negotiations instead of the EU.

Take, for example, the new UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. This UK version of the EU-Japan trade deal now includes protections within the Japanese market for authentic Devon delicacies such as West Country beef and lamb and our world-renowned Exmoor Blue cheese.

Progress is also being made in extricating ourselves from the damaging EU-US trade dispute over Boeing.

Last year, as part of this dispute, President Trump slapped a 25 per cent tariff on whisky from EU countries, including the UK.

Earlier this month, the Government announced the UK would suspend retaliatory tariffs against the US once we take back control of our trade policy in the New Year, in order to smooth a pathway towards reducing US tariffs on UK whisky.

Removing ourselves from the EU’s damaging trade war with America will help boost the exports of Devon distilleries to the other side of the Atlantic.

Looking ahead to the future, we may be able to negotiate a complete removal of US tariffs on UK whisky, as part of the comprehensive trade deal that our two countries are negotiating, although this may take some time to achieve. Our country is making faster progress towards agreeing new trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand, opening up new markets on the other side of the world for British exporters.

The Government is also exploring the possibility of the UK joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade alliance of 11 countries in the Pacific Region who together account for 13 per cent of the world’s economy.

Of course, opening up new markets for local businesses is just half the battle - we also need to support them to these new markets.

That is why I welcome that UK Export Finance, the government’s export credit agency, provided British businesses with £4.4 billion in support for exports, with almost four-fifths of the companies benefiting small and medium-sized enterprises.

Moreover, the website is also helping UK businesses to expand their overseas reach by listing thousands of export opportunities worth millions of pounds.

Last month, my fellow MPs elected me to join the International Trade Committee, on which I will be scrutinising each new trade deal that the Government signs, as well as considering what more support should be provided to businesses seeking to export more.

As we take back control of our trade policy for the first time in almost fifty years, it is an exciting time for businesses exporting overseas.

Through my new role, I look forward to supporting exporters, both in our local community and across our country, to grasp the new trading opportunities that Brexit affords us with both hands.