Disruption at border will ease and exports will increase, minister vows

Graham Stuart was pressed in the Commons on problems at the border following Brexit.

Queues of lorries
Queues of lorries

An international trade minister has acknowledged there will be “ongoing frictions” for UK exporters post-Brexit, but claimed things are improving every day.

Conservative frontbencher Graham Stuart also delivered a bullish view on the future by predicting the UK will return to its 2019 position of seeing its exports rise.

For Labour, shadow international trade minister Bill Esterson warned businesses are “drowning in red tape” due to problems at the border.

MP portraits
International trade minister Graham Stuart said problems at the border are reducing (Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament)

Labour’s Rupa Huq (Ealing Central and Acton) also highlighted extra costs for performers hoping to be involved in festivals in the EU, adding: “Can (ministers) work cross-departmentally to abolish these levies because, as one of those festivals is called, it’s literally ‘Taking the Piste’.”

SNP trade spokesman Drew Hendry earlier raised concerns about delays in goods being exported and called for the “calamitous mess” to be resolved.

He added measures to compensate thousands of companies should be examined by the UK Government.

Mr Stuart replied at international trade questions in the Commons: “There are teething problems and there will be ongoing frictions.

“Every day, I am pleased to say, we’re reducing those and we’re now seeing levels returning to pre-Covid levels at our border and we will continue to work and support our exporters in order to learn how best to do it.”

In response to a separate question, Mr Stuart also said of frictions at the border: “I am pleased to say they’re reducing over time and I’m confident we’ll return to where we were in 2019 when we were the only top 10 exporting nation in the world to see our exports rise.”

Liz Truss
Liz Truss said the UK Government is working ‘flat out’ to have US tariffs on some exported goods lifted (PA)

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss later insisted the UK Government is working “flat out” to ensure US tariffs on Scottish goods are removed.

Conservative MP John Lamont (Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk) asked what the Government is doing to ensure US tariffs on Scotch whisky and cashmere are repealed.

Ms Truss replied: “These tariffs are damaging on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Today we are seeing the confirmation hearing of the new US trade representative and as soon as that is finished I will be on the phone to her seeking an early resolution of these issues.”

Pressed again on the matter by SNP MP David Linden (Glasgow East), Ms Truss added: “I can assure you that the Prime Minister is exercised about this issue, as am I, and we are working flat out to get an agreement to make sure that these tariffs are removed.”

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