UK government: Brexit will help boost trade with developing world

UK government: Brexit will help boost trade with developing world

The U.K. government is doubling down on its commitment to trade with developing nations as it prepares to leave the European Union.

In a statement issued Saturday evening, the government pledged improved post-Brexit access to U.K. markets for developing nations.

“The government will use Brexit to cement Britain’s standing in the world and meet our commitments to the world’s poorest by securing their existing duty-free access to U.K. markets and providing new opportunities to increase trade links,†the statement said.

“The commitment means that around 48 countries across the globe, from Bangladesh to Sierra Leone, Haiti and Ethiopia will continue to benefit from duty-free exports into the U.K. on all goods other than arms and ammunition, known as ‘everything but arms.’â€

The statement added that the government will explore ways to expand ties with other developing nations — including Jamaica, Pakistan and Ghana — which currently have a mixture of reduced or zero tariffs on the goods they export to Britain.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said Brexit allowed the government to pursue free and fair trade that improves conditions for workers across the globe.

“Our departure from the EU is an opportunity to step up to our commitments to the rest of the world, not step away from them,†Fox said in the statement. “Free and fair trade has been the greatest liberator of the world’s poor, and today’s announcement shows our commitment to helping developing countries grow their economies and reduce poverty through trade.â€

International Development Secretary Priti Patel echoed Fox’s remarks, saying, “The U.K. is using its position as a great, global trading nation to seize opportunities to lift countries out of grinding poverty. This will ‎generate the wealth, prosperity and investment needed to create millions of jobs and help the world’s poorest people stand on their own two feet.â€

The statement comes amid intense negotiations in Brussels over the U.K.’s future trading relationship with the EU. Prime Minister Theresa May has called for a hard Brexit that would remove the U.K. from the single market. But since losing her parliamentary majority in this month’s snap election, members of her own cabinet, such as Chancellor Philip Hammond, have renewed their push for a soft Brexit.

Other prominent British politicians, including Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, have called on the U.K. to remain in the single market.