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Harriett Baldwin calls for defence sector to be priority in US-UK trade talks

3rd February 2020

Harriett Baldwin highlights the importance of the US to the British defence industry and urges the Government to prioritise defence sector in the US-UK free trade agreement discussions.

Defence Exports

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire) (Con)

9. What recent steps he has taken with the Secretary of State for International Trade to support UK defence manufacturing by promoting defence exports. [900544]

The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Ben Wallace)

On behalf of the Prime Minister, I chair the defence, security and exports working group, which is attended by the International Trade Secretary. Ministers from Defence and International Trade support regular overseas trade missions and attend a wide range of international exhibitions, most notably last year’s Defence and Security ​Equipment International, where we jointly hosted 58 international delegations, demonstrating the best of British defence exports.

Harriett Baldwin

The Secretary of State will know how much of our defence equipment pipeline is coming from the US. He will also know how much our excellent UK defence industry sells into the US. Will he make sure that, as we start the US-UK free trade agreement discussions, the defence sector is one of the sectors that is prioritised?

Mr Wallace

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The US defence market is incredibly important for both the United States and the United Kingdom. Some of my honourable colleagues in this House and I lobbied for the original UK-US defence tech trade treaty in 2006. I can see the right hon. Members for North Durham (Mr Jones) and for Warley (John Spellar) sitting on the back row of the Labour Benches—we went together. We believe that it is so important. The reality is that, yes, we have more work to do. These trade deals will be incredibly important to make sure that we secure British jobs in order to sell aerospace and partner in aerospace across both countries.



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