Iain Dale Challenges Liz Truss On Post-Brexit Trade Deals

1 October 2019, 19:36

Watch Iain Dale challenge Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss over our post-Brexit trade deal with the US and Irish border plans.

Iain Dale asked Liz Truss if there are any negative reactions to us leaving the EU while she’s been travelling internationally to discuss trade deals.

Truss said that the Australian cabinet see Brexit as a “real opportunity” for Australia.

“They feel like it’s a family reunion almost, us coming back to have a closer relationship with them. Whether that’s in areas like trade, or security operation. So it was incredibly positive in Australia.”

Truss also said that President Trump is “extremely keen.”

“He’s a dealmaker, he likes doing deals. I think he sees the UK as a really good opportunity for both countries to have a closer trading relationship.”

Liz Truss: The UK is a less protectionist country and we don’t have to get 27 other countries to agree” if we’re no longer in the EU.
Liz Truss: The UK is a less protectionist country and we don’t have to get 27 other countries to agree” if we’re no longer in the EU. . Picture: PA

She also mentioned Japan as having a positive reaction; the country already has a trade deal negotiated with the EU, but want the UK to “strike a positive deal bilaterally”, as both countries are democratic island nations.

Iain asked whether Japan want to strike a deal with the UK using the same terms as their EU agreement.

Truss said she aims for a more “ambitious” deal which can “benefit both countries quicker” than the one currently in place. She said that by have a more effective deal with Japan that is implemented rapidly, the UK is “in an advantage relative to the EU.”

She said “The UK is a less protectionist country and we don’t have to get 27 other countries to agree” if we’re no longer in the EU.

“People know when they’re negotiating with the UK, they’re negotiating with the UK government. They don’t have to go back to different member states and keep haggling.”

Iain asked Truss what it was like meeting Donald Trump.

“It was a really positive meeting, he’s clearly got an incredibly warm relationship with the Prime Minister and he’s very focused on trade."

Liz Truss said a new US trade deal would be a great opportunity for the UK: “Everyone I’ve met in the US sees the UK as an easy country for the US to do a deal” with due to UK’s high standards, similar legal systems and common language.

Iain pointed out this may be tricky as Nancy Pelosi, Speaker United States House of Representatives Speaker had said the US wouldn’t strike a deal with UK if the Irish border situation wasn’t sorted out, which may be the case in a no deal Brexit.

Liz Truss: "The Prime Minister will be putting Irish border proposals forward before the weekend"
Liz Truss: "The Prime Minister will be putting Irish border proposals forward before the weekend". Picture: PA

“Well we are sorting out the Northern Ireland border situation as we speak. The alternative arrangements are under discussion with Brussels and there are practical solutions that can be put in place. The EU has already moved on this issue.”

Iain replied: “But the Irish government haven’t, have they? Today, the Foreign Minister has already dismissed these new proposals.

Truss said: “My understanding is these are not necessarily the proposals we’re putting forward. The Prime Minister will be putting those proposals forward before the weekend.

The EU are engaging in this discussion in a way they weren’t before.”

Iain asked when we can expect deals to get under way if we leave on October 31st, to which Truss said that Australia would be one of the first deals and “I suspect it could be done within months.” But she said she wouldn’t agree to any old deal.

The Secretary of State for International Trade said there are other countries where deals may not be achieved, for example Canada who is not rolling over its existing agreement.

Iain asked what effect this would have on British companies that trade with Canadian companies.

“In the event of no deal, which is what we’re talking about with those countries, companies will face tariffs if they’re importing into Canada,” Truss said.

Truss continued that the Department of International Trade had got all their internal work done, having secured an expert team of trade negotiators, and said “now all we need is the starting pistol fired.” She said that any country who closes a deal with the UK early will have advantages.

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