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The Brexit Opportunities Minister said popular items, such as trainers, could become much cheaper if plans for the UK to unilaterally lift some tariffs are given the go-ahead. Mr Rees-Mogg – who donned an apron and hat as he joined the production line at the Elkes Biscuits factory in Uttoxeter – said he is going through inherited EU law line by line to bin rules that keep prices high. New legislation will make it easier for the UK to ditch rules drawn up by Brussels and “scrape the barnacles off the boat”, he said.
He explained: “It’s about dealing with small regulations that make lots of individual things that bit more expensive.
“It’s trying to find out how much more we can do on that.
“I discovered last night from a Swiss ambassador that we don’t recognise the quality of Swiss medical devices because of a row between the EU and Switzerland.
“And we still haven’t put that right. That means we are denying ourselves good devices at competitive prices, this is not a sensible thing to do.”
Mr Rees-Mogg, who made the visit to the Staffordshire factory after a regional meeting of the Cabinet, said that legislation set out in the Queen’s Speech will make it easier for smaller firms to sell to the Government.
Ministers are also considering lifting import tariffs on goods from overseas that do not have any natural competitors in Britain that could be hurt by such a move.
One area that would benefit from significant price cuts is sports shoes.
However, the traditionally-attired Mr Rees-Mogg admitted the change for trainers would ultimately not benefit him.
He said: “It has been discussed about removing duties on goods that we don’t produce.
“There’s a 16 percent duty – plus VAT – on trainers. We don’t produce any trainers in the UK.
“I don’t particularly wear trainers so I have no vested interest in this.”
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