Industry and union anger at trade bill publication

In a statement issued by the Manufacturing Remedies Alliance, a group of trade associations and trade unions, the government has been accused of ignoring the impact of an “ultra-liberal” trade remedies system for UK manufacturers:

The Government has announced that it will publish the trade bill later today (7 November). This is just hours after a deadline passed for industry and unions to provide feedback on its plan for the bill. Officials will have no time to analyse reaction to the trade white paper or brief their ministers on industry’s concerns.

The Manufacturing Trade Remedies Alliance, which is made up of trade associations and trade unions, is not happy about the timing of the trade bill publication. The Alliance has been campaigning for effective measures against unfair cheap imports, but concerns it has raised about the government’s approach have been ignored. The government plans a very liberal trade remedies system, meaning UK manufacturers will not have adequate protection.

Dr Laura Cohen, chair of the Alliance said:

“We have been meeting with officials regularly to raise our concerns that the government’s approach to trade remedies will put thousands of jobs at risk. We entered those meetings in good faith, but the white paper ignored the issues we raised. Today’s announcement that ministers are pressing ahead with the trade bill, clearly without considering our further evidence, is bad news for UK manufacturing”.

Tony Burke, assistant general secretary of the Unite trade union said:

“The government needed to give trade remedies a major rethink before publishing the bill. Unlike in the new EU system, the government plans to do nothing to maintain labour or environmental standards around the world.  This ultra-liberal approach will open the flood gates to cheap and illegally dumped imports such as steel, tyres, ceramics, glass and fertilisers. There is a real risk our UK manufacturing industries will be devastated, at the cost of thousands of well-paid and high-quality jobs.”