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UK trade strategy under fire

UK trade strategy is sharply criticised in a report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Trade & Export Promotion, just published.

Summarising, APPG vice-chair Lord Lansley said: “There is an immediate need for clarity in the UK’s approach with international partners.”

Chris Southworth, secretary general of the International Chamber of Commerce in the UK, which provides administrative support for the APPG, said:  “The UK desperately needs a comprehensive strategy on trade… The trade deals negotiated so far were the easy bit – simply rolling over what was already there. Now comes the real challenge and we’re not ready. Identifying where investment is needed most and how export capabilities will be built and expanded across the UK’s nations and regions.

The APPG’s recommendations include:

  • A clear statement of intent on how the government will promote a race to the top on standards, particularly in key areas such as labour, human rights, public services and environment.
  • Developing existing connections to double intra-Commonwealth trade, meeting the needs of developed and developing economies.
  • Setting out the role the UK government wants to play at the G7, G20 and World Trade Organisation to promote a fairer trading environment
  • Detailing the role of trade in meeting commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement

The APPG was established last year represents a strong range of business and other interests from across UK society.  It is co-chaired by independent peer Lord Waverley and Gary Sambrook, Conservative MP for Birmingham Northfield. 

We would welcome feedback, which will be treated in confidence but will help in our trade discussions with government and others.