India: Trevelyan grilled on UK's plans for a trade deal
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Since Britain left the European Union, the majority of trade deals signed with other countries have been so-called roll-on deals, merely reflecting deals already in place with a member.
Of the deals signed otherwise, criticism has poured in from industry leaders, particularly in farming and agriculture, over deals that have left British businesses out of pocket, and seeing very little benefit in return.
On the flip side, there have been some signs of promise.
Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne Marie Trevelyan signed agreements with the African Continental Free Trade Area, (AfCTA) and has also secured a deal with the USA in lifting tariffs on British steel exports.
Yet there remains scepticism of a wider trade deal with Washington over US President Joe Biden’s concerns over the ongoing stalemate in talks over the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The President has stressed Britain will remain at the back of the queue until the situation in Ireland is resolved, and guarantees are set protecting the Good Friday Agreement.
Speaking of the current situation the finds itself in, and warning more must be done to make a success of Brexit, Jayne Adye, from Get Britain Out said: “With the world focused on the crisis in Ukraine, it might be easy to forget the rest of the business the Government needs to concentrate on if we are to continue to function with our global ambitions as a country – and reap the benefits – now the United Kingdom has left the European Union.
“For far too long the UK has been forced to accept EU trade deals which were just about squeezed across the line.
“The EU had to take the route of least resistance to make sure every single Member State was content with every aspect of their negotiations, rather than taking a course of action which would bring the greatest benefit to the people in the United Kingdom – as we can now do.
“We are out of the EU now, but it is worth pointing out a great number of the trade deals the UK has secured so far are ‘rollover’ agreements, copying what was already in place, instead of them being updated to reflect the interests and priorities of the UK now and in the future.
“Rollover deals were a necessity of the time constraints the UK faced before the end of the Transition Period on January 1st, 202, however, we must not let the EU’s failures linger on when we are updating past deals, and making new trade deals, undermining the full potential for an independent United Kingdom.
“Even when we have reached unique and tailor-made trade agreements with partners around the world, the Department for International Trade cannot afford to sit on its laurels whilst admiring its work.
“We must learn from the mistakes of Brussels and keep driving forward to develop new trade deals at every opportunity we can.”
Speaking of how this can be achieved, Ms Adye stated the onus lies on the Prime Minister to boost funding to the Department of International Trade, and concentrate more on problems at home, rather than those in Ukraine.
She said: “It is vital the Prime Minister makes sure the Department for International Trade receives the additional funding it requires to ensure the UK is in the best position possible to take advantage of the ever-diversifying global economy.
“Properly investing in a Department founded in 2016 – and still getting off the ground – would be a far better use of time and taxpayer’s money, rather than the incredibly short-sighted, but significant restructuring, reportedly taking place in the Foreign Office to switch all focus to Ukraine.”
Ms Adye also suggested Ms Trevelyan must deliver results or face the consequences.
She said: “Just as our attitude to trends within the global economy must be flexible, the Prime Minister must also make sure he keeps a close eye on the Department for International Trade, and be ready to make a change in the Secretary of State if Anne-Marie Trevelyan does not deliver on promises made.”
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Ending, the Get Britain Out advocate stated Britain must aim high in order to once again be able to declare itself a “global nation.”
She ended: “The key to the future global trade success of the Department for International Trade will be constantly seeking improvements, and always aiming for ambitious deals others might deem impossible.
“One thing is certain, now we have managed to Get Britain Out of the European Union, we cannot allow our global ambitions to be neglected.
“In an ever-evolving trade market, we must be ready to be flexible to new trends and opportunities around the world.”
Has Britain been left out in the cold on trade deals since leaving the European Union? Should Britain seal a deal with India which appear to be supporting Moscow? Have deals signed so far given any benefits to British industry? Let us know what you think by CLICKING HERE and joining the conversation in our comments section below – Every Voice Matters!
According to a report in the Independent in November 2021, Britain has lost significant trade income since leaving the EU.
Policy correspondent Jon Stone said: “All of Boris Johnson’s new post-Brexit trade deals put together will have an economic benefit of just £3 to £7 per person over the next 15 years, according to the government’s own figures.
“The tiny economic boost – amounting to just 0.01 to 0.02 per cent of GDP, and less than 50p per person a year – is dwarfed by the economic hit from leaving the EU, which the government estimates at 4 per cent of GDP over the same period.”
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