10 Commonwealth policy priorities for trade and development
Ahead of the 2017 meeting of Commonwealth trade ministers, ODI and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trade Out of Poverty put forward 10 policy priorities for trade ministers to consider.
Foreword by the Co-Chairs
It is remarkable that 2017 should see the first ever formal meeting of Commonwealth trade ministers. Trade is the most potent driver for growth and development, and it also binds countries together. Happily, Commonwealth countries – no doubt because of their historic links – already tend to trade more with each other than do otherwise similar countries.
But that is not a reason for complacency so much as an indication of the potential to achieve more. We need to focus on how best to do so. That is why this 10-point plan is so valuable.
Moreover, it could not be more timely:
The World Trade Organization Bali agreement on facilitation of trade, if implemented, could substantially increase the volume between member states and with other countries too. Cooperation and a joint commitment by Commonwealth countries to implement it would set an example to the world.
Brexit provides an opportunity to rebuild old ties of trade and investment and to make trade policy as pro-development as possible – while taking care to avoid potential negative impacts on less developed countries.
The slowdown in global trade makes renewed emphasis on promoting international trade imperative.
The Commonwealth is uniquely well placed to provide a positive lead to promote trade and cooperation to counter the risk of populism leading to a return to protectionism and division. With a population of 2.3 billion, a combined economy of more than $10 trillion and annual GDP growth in excess of 4%, the Commonwealth has a huge opportunity to help member countries rise to these challenges.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trade Out of Poverty and the Overseas Development Institute have come together to set out a positive agenda for Commonwealth countries which we commend to trade ministers as they gather in London for what we hope will be the start of a fruitful collaboration.