“…Finally, on trade, one of the benefits of leaving the EU is to deliver an independent trade policy for the UK, which works in the interests of our businesses and consumers. On 5 May, the International Trade Secretary and the US Trade Representative, launched negotiations for a UK-US Free Trade Agreement and agreed an ambitious timetable for virtual talks, ensuring that talks can progress during the Covid-19 pandemic. We will expect to secure the swift removal of unjustified measures on exports of steel and aluminium originating in the UK pursuant to section 232 of the US Trade Expansion Act. The Government is also committed to negotiating and securing ambitious deals with other countries, such as Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, and we want to start negotiating as soon as possible. I appreciate the active role that aluminium companies have played in the lead-up to trade talks so far.
I am aware from the recent call with my officials that your members raised concerns regarding the availability of PPE for those individuals performing roles which required PPE before the arrival of Covid-19. I assure you I have requested to be kept sighted on this issue.
I also wish to reassure you of our shared desire to foster a truly competitive and vibrant aluminium sector in the UK. I would encourage you to share further details with my officials on the specific proposals you raise in your letter, including Capex support, R&D acceleration, a reduction in red tape, deregulation, and the contribution the aluminium industry could make to achieving a low carbon economy. Covid-19. I assure you I have requested to be kept sighted on this issue…”
NADHIM ZAHAWI MP
Minister for Business and Industry