Coronavirus: Imports of Essential Medical Products
8. Graham Morris (Easington): What steps she is taking to expedite the import of essential medical products during Covid-19 outbreak?
Grahame Morris MP, Easington
Mr Speaker, across the world we are being advised to wash our hands with soap regularly, to keep us safe from the virus. But the average import tariff on soap among WTO members stands at 17%, with some countries charging up to 65% tariffs. My question is, what steps is the Minister taking to see global agreement to reduce tariffs on the import of soap and other hygiene products, to combat the spread of Covid-19?
The Rt Hon Greg Hands MP, Minister of State for Trade Policy
Mr Speaker that is a very good question, and I thank the Honourable Gentleman for that question. We are again working tirelessly at different international fora to ensure that trade barriers are reduced or removed, either longstanding barriers or ones that have been thrown up as a result of the crisis. For example, just last month the UK initiative, the G20 trade ministers met, and discussed a lot of these and took significant action. We’ve also been lobbying bilaterally, most successfully with India, to make sure that these barriers are reduced or removed.