Letter to FT on effective trade remedies

MTRA LETTER TO FINANCIAL TIMES 1 July 2017

New bill must establish effective ‘trade remedies’

Sir, In the Queen’s Speech the government committed to a trade bill in order to “cement the UK’s leading role as a great, global trading nation, whilst ensuring UK businesses are protected from unfair trading practices”.

It is refreshing that the government has committed to the need to address unfair trade practices. In the past, the UK government has often been highly resistant to EU anti-dumping duties. Ministers and officials have mistakenly conflated protection with protectionism. The World Trade Organisation’s rules allow members to take action against unfair activities by trading partners, such as subsidised exports and predatory pricing, when domestic industry is damaged. These rules exist to protect genuine free trade, not hinder it.

We hope the inclusion of “trade remedies” within the trade bill marks a change in the government’s approach. Our organisations represent hundreds of UK manufacturing businesses and hundreds of thousands of workers and are calling for strong post-Brexit trade remedies. The trade bill must establish a system that fully alleviates any injury to UK manufacturing caused by dumping, and it must be supported by the appropriate government infrastructure.

The congested parliamentary timetable means there may only be one chance to pass the trade bill, and the hung parliament means it must command cross-party support. Therefore it’s imperative that the voice of valued manufacturing businesses and their employees is heard by the government and all parliamentarians. The trade bill must work for British industry and workers.

David Caffall
Agricultural Industries Confederation

Dr Laura Cohen
British Ceramic Confederation

Dave Dalton
British Glass

Steve Elliott
Chemical Industries Association

Andrew Large
Confederation of Paper Industries

Roy Rickhuss
Community

Jude Brimble
GMB

Dr Richard Leese
Mineral Products Association

Gareth Stace
UK Steel

Tony Burke
Unite the Union

Financial Times 1 July 2017