Sadly I was one of fourty three MP’s who were not selected to speak today about the Trade Bill.
The power of free trade agreements mustn’t be overlooked, free market capitalism has alleviated poverty and economic deprivation as is demonstrable across the entire world. Stoke-on-Trent North, Kidsgrove and Talke has been listed as one of the most deprived areas in this country, and I promised my constituents that I would do everything in my power to change that.
Stoke-on-Trent is the proud home of Steelite International, a high-quality company employing over 600 people in Stoke and servicing over 140 countries. Steelite works closely with our friends across the Atlantic, has several American investors and is an excellent example of a Great British business on the global stage, one engaging in international trade, but whose horizons and employment capabilities are set to boom if we secure the right deal with the US.
I was staggered to discover products, notably tableware, are subject to huge tariffs when exporting to the US, to keep manufacturing jobs in the UK we must be competitive, and a 25% tariff means we are priced out of many opportunities for cheaper and lower quality relative products.
It is equally important for the protection of the industry to work with our European friends to secure the very best trade deal for the UK and the EU. For Churchill China, this is especially crucial as the European market accounts for 40% of their tableware sales. As with many UK businesses they have cultivated an excellent working relationship with the continent, and I would like to see mutually beneficial investments of this kind continue.
This Bill is an unmissable opportunity, and should serve as a magnet for the best of the best around the world to look to the UK and invest, to be part of making Stoke the world centre for not just our wonderful traditional ceramics, but also for high value, technically demanding ceramics. We can and we will compete on the world stage with Japan, Korea and the USA, high value and high cost economies.
To watch the full speech, please see here.