MP promotes trade as the 'cutting edge' to UK diplomacy

Steve Brine urged the Government to show great ambition in future trade with the emerging economies.

Speaking at Foreign Office questions in the Commons on Tuesday 17 January he criticised what he called the 'blinkered' approach to trading purely within the EU which he said was dated and 'painfully lacking in ambition'.

Questioning the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, the Winchester & Chandler's Ford MP said: "The Foreign Secretary's visit to Brazil this week is very welcome, and continues his much-needed drive to make trade the cutting edge to British diplomacy.

"As the balance of world economic activity shifts to the East and the South, would the Foreign Secretary agree that a very blinkered approach to trade inside the European Union is not only very last-century, it's also painfully lacking in ambition?"

In response, Mr Hague agreed that the UK needed to consider both. He said: "It's very important with the flat economies in the Eurozone and with exports having fallen somewhat over recent years to the Eurozone it is doubly important that we develop our export markets across the rest of the world.

"But there is also a very strong case for driving growth within Europe through free trade agreements with the rest of the world... also through pushing forward the single market through services, digital services, removing regulatory barriers to growth."

Speaking afterwards, Steve said: "I'm really pleased that the Foreign Secretary completely recognises the need for a wider vision than those who desperately cling to the so-called ideals of insulating ourselves within an increasing fraught Europe.

"Of course we must trade with all but we cannot ignore the fact these emerging economies are thriving and European economy is a much smaller slice of the cake than it has been in the past. This Government is so right to ensure the wide reach of UK diplomacy is every bit as focused on driving UK growth as it is on anything else."

More information...

You can read the Hansard transcript here, and watch the whole session back here.