Exiting the European Union
Nick's Intervention in the Secretary of State's Statement
Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs) (Con)
I congratulate my right hon. Friend on his resurrection. He spoke about the value of free trade with the European Union when we leave it. That trade consists of trade in both goods and services. The barriers to it are tariff barriers, which have been discussed extensively, and non-tariff barriers, which have received rather less attention. What reassurance can he give to the many businesses in this country in the services sector, which is particularly important to us and is growing—trade with the European Union in the sector is important—that the removal of non-tariff barriers, which is in their interests, will continue?
My right hon. Friend is the author of the resurrection line I cited earlier, and I would say a couple of things to him. I am tempted to use Ghandi’s comment about western civilisation. The single market in services would be a good idea, but it is somewhat patchy to say the least, and one major part of the big exercise we are doing is trying to establish exactly what the non-tariff barriers are and where they can and cannot be resolved. I take his point entirely on board. Services is the one area where we have a surplus with Europe, and we want to keep it.
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