A former Assistant Director at the Department for International Trade sounds a warningby David Henig / April 24, 2018 / Leave a comment
Listen to the debate about Global Britain that takes place in parliament and the needs of business or anyone else seem distant. To some proponents of leaving the EU it appears that the UK will bestride the globe doing trade deals with anyone we like to achieve everything we ever dreamed. To opponents the UK is so diminished that no other country will be remotely tempted to ever do a trade agreement with us.
Let’s try to push the reset button on this sterile debate. There’s no shortage of countries who would like to talk trade with the UK, and never will be. But it isn’t just because they’re supporters of free trade, whatever they may claim. Countries will talk to us because they want something from the UK. If Global Britain means trade agreements we’re going to have to work out whether to give the other party what they want. In exchange we can get some of what we want. A trade agreement is a trade in itself.
Last week the organisation I now work for, the European Centre for International Political Economy published a report “Assessing UK Trade Policy Readiness” against a number of criteria essential to success in trade policy. In many cases, including in the clarity of what the UK wants, we…