Commonwealth trade standards initiative
Commonwealth countries will get UK help to meet international trade standards.
Brexiteers have championed the idea of boosting trade links with the Commonwealth after leaving the European Union, and Prime Minister Theresa May set out plans to make it easier for businesses to operate more freely within the 53-nation group as leaders gathered in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm).
In a speech at the Guildhall in the City of London she called for the Commonwealth to become a beacon of free trade at a time of fragile international growth and continued protectionism.
Trade in the Commonwealth is valued at £393 billion and is estimated to rise to £492bn by 2020, according to the Government.
Mrs May promised British help for developing countries to meet existing standards for their products. “Shared standards have huge potential to stimulate trade,” she said.
“The UK will be funding an all-new Commonwealth Standards Network, which will support developing countries in particular to better meet existing international standards.”
The prime minister also announced that the UK will support a programme of technical assistance to Commonwealth countries to implement the terms of the World Trade Organisation agreement on trade facilitation.
Full implementation is estimated to reduce trade costs by as much as 16% for less-developed countries, while cutting the average time needed for goods imports by 47% and exports by up to 91%, she said.
She announced plans for the UK to work with the International Trade Centre on a new She Trades Commonwealth initiative to break down gender barriers.
Meanwhile, the PM is under pressure to address the concerns of long-term British residents from the so-called Windrush generation. There are concerns people face deportation and being denied access to healthcare due to UK paperwork issues and anomalies affecting some immigrants from Commonwealth countries between the late 1940s and early 1970s.