Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lord Lilley: My Lords, I welcome the Government’s Statement and hope that these negotiations are successful, but is it not important to put the importance of trade agreements into perspective? What actually drives trade is the production of goods and services that other people want to buy. Trade agreements are of secondary importance, as illustrated by the relative growth in our trade with countries with whom we trade solely on WTO terms and have no free trade agreement with. The WTO and the single market were set up at the same time, when I was Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. Our exports of goods to WTO-only countries has grown by 87%, faster than those economies themselves have grown and six times faster than our exports to the EU, which have grown by barely 0.5% a year, which is slower than the growth of the economies of the EU.