Barry Gardiner MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, responding to Liam Fox's speech at Tory Conference said:
"The International Trade Secretary has again avoided providing any detail on our future trading relations. Business investors have little use for nostalgic rhetoric, they need certainty and clarity on what the UK's post-Brexit trading status will be.
"What concerns British exporters today is that EU manufacturers are right now trying to decide whether they can risk including UK companies in their supply chain for products they plan to export after 2018. They know that third countries will apply country of origin rules strictly to EU exports and if the UK is no longer a member, their product may face such non-tariff barriers.
"Many companies will feel shocked that instead of the Secretary of State answering their important questions he instead announced that he plans to head off to Africa with the International Aid Secretary. It’s enough to cause despair.
"What every exporter of goods or services in the UK needs to know is whether this government will prioritise access to the single market or whether UK prosperity is going to be sacrificed on the Brexit altar. The music of the Tory conference so far has been for a hard Brexit. Today Dr Fox did nothing to reassure business otherwise.
"What we got today was more of the same; no answers and no plan for the working people of this country."
Notes to editors:
Liam Fox today proved that he Tories have no answers to the big questions. He failed to give any detail on key questions like:
- where the UK will stand with the WTO outside the EU?
- what new tariffs and quotas UK exporters might face from current non-EU export markets
- how he will establish our rightful shares of EU quotas?
- how he proposes to resolve the fact that the EU schedules with the WTO are still predicated upon 15 rather than 28 members?
- what non-tariff barriers UK exporters can expect from the EU when our regulatory standards are no longer harmonised?