International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and International Trade Minister Lord Price will today attend the first Commonwealth trade ministers’ meeting - an event that will bring together politicians, officials and policymakers from over 20 Commonwealth nations.
The meeting - the first of its kind - is jointly convened by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) and the Commonwealth Secretariat.
The 2 day event will see ministers and representatives from across the Commonwealth consider areas where we can strengthen collaboration by harnessing the ‘Commonwealth advantage’ to deepen intra-Commonwealth trade and investment.
The meeting follows on from the Commonwealth Business Forum in Malta in November 2015 and provides an opportunity to kick-start an ambitious ‘Agenda for Growth’ ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Summit in the UK.
Dr Fox said:
The Commonwealth economies are wonderfully diverse, each with their own specialisations, industries and opportunities. Our diversity is our strength – we have much to learn from one another, and a vast wealth of experience, knowledge and talent to draw upon.
It is the government’s intention to make Britain a leader in free trade, working with our friends and allies in the Commonwealth to remove barriers and liberalise the global trading environment. The trade ministers’ meeting is an important step towards realising this vision and I’m looking forward to strengthening foundations today for our trading future.
Lord Price said:
No-one can doubt trade’s positive impact on the world: helping to eradicate poverty, spread technology, raise living standards to unprecedented levels, and make our world safer than it could otherwise have been.
Looking forward, Britain will lead the charge for a freer and fairer trading system and we want our Commonwealth partners and friends to join with us. That’s why we will use this meeting to continue conversations around how to minimise disruption, remove barriers and ensure a win-win approach to our future trading relations.
The 52 member states in the Commonwealth boast a combined population of over 2.4 billion people and, significantly, 1 billion Commonwealth citizens are aged under 25.
Latest figures show intra-Commonwealth trade has grown faster than the global average over the past 10 years, and is projected to be worth $1 trillion a year by 2020. And according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Commonwealth countries whose imports of goods and services are likely to grow fastest over the next 5 years are Mozambique, Bangladesh, India, Brunei, Ghana and Sierra Leone.