Warrington Guardian Column | International Trade Deals

International Trade deals can sometimes feel abstract and remote, far removed from our everyday lives. Ironically, nothing could be further from the truth.

Trading relationships determine our living standards, jobs and access to resources. Britain’s prosperity has always been tied to how we do business with the rest of the world.

Healthy trading relationships are key to shared prosperity and economic growth. But trade is not only an important source of wealth creation. When tied to an open, rules-based system, trade can also be a great driver of human rights and social justice.

As a member of the International Trade Select Committee, I am a staunch advocate of promoting trade that is fair, just and sustainable. Trade agreements should never undermine human rights and labour standards.

Too often, profit-making has taken precedence over workers’ rights and public services in international trade deals. Just last week, I asked International Trade Secretary Liam Fox if he will guarantee that our NHS is not put up for sale in any future trade deals post-Brexit. The government has repeatedly failed to provide sufficient assurances on this and I will be keeping up the fight to protect our NHS from private interests.

I have had many conversations with constituents and local businesses about the sorts of trading arrangements we want to see here in the UK. It is crucial that we support and engage with our local businesses – they create jobs and wealth which help our town prosper. That is why, during my time as Mayor of Warrington, I developed the original concept of Warrington Business Exchange, then called Circle the Future. I am delighted that this initiative has been taken forward.

I am always working to explore new opportunities for Warrington South. I want to create opportunities which include access to a range of skilled and well-paid jobs.

Trading internationally is crucial to achieving this outcome by enabling us to promote British exports in overseas markets. Exports of goods and services currently account for around 30% of the UK’s GDP, and millions of jobs depend on continuing access to foreign markets. One in four British SMEs are involved either directly or indirectly in exporting overseas. I see supporting these industries as central to my work as an MP: since my election in 2017, I have founded and chair All-Party Parliamentary Groups on Trade Justice, Business Support and Engagement, Healthcare Infrastructure, the Belt & Road Initiative and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

As always, I welcome the views of my constituents and want to promote trading relationships that most closely reflect the values and needs of our community. By supporting a system of international trade which is fair and open, I believe we can secure a better future for Warrington and a better future for Britain. 

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