UK to replace EU trade links with closer ties to Commonwealth
In move dubbed Empire 2.0 by critics, trade ministers draw up integration plans as departure from single market looms
Patricia Scotland at the meeting of Commonwealth trade ministers at Marlborough House, Pall Mall, London.
Published: Friday Friday 10 March 2017 21.58 GMT
Britain would harmonise regulations with its former colonies rather than the European Union under new proposals for trade integration that critics have dubbed Empire 2.0.
At a meeting in London given fresh impetus by Brexit, Commonwealth trade ministers agreed to deepen economic ties on Friday by seeking some of the same standardisation that once frustrated eurosceptics in Brussels.
“Because we share common law, common language, common institutions and common parliamentary structures, that has given us a de facto advantage,” said Commonwealth secretary general Patricia Scotland at the end of the two-day summit.
“That … advantage is something which we as a Commonwealth are absolutely determined to exploit and to grow, and at this meeting today we were able to have a comprehensive opportunity to consider how in practice we do that.”
Though still a long way from the extensive regulations of the EU single market, British leaders of the Commonwealth see a growing formal role for the body in economic harmonisation.
Jonathan Marland, chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, and David Cameron’s former trade envoy, said: “I would like to see in the next 12 months, as we move to the Commonwealth summit, that we develop a standard of rules – which could be a Commonwealth accord – which identifies common business practices within the Commonwealth countries which countries can subscribe to.”
Lord Marland claimed this would give greater certainty to exporters, “in particular SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises] which need all the support they can get … to reduce the uncertainty of going into new markets”.
Several senior Conservatives, led by trade minister Liam Fox, have heralded the potential for new trade agreements with Commonwealth countries as a way to replace lost European markets when Britain leaves the EU.
“Obviously UK trading relations are now up for grabs,” Lord Marland told the Guardian. “What easier and better place [is there] to trade than with countries who have shared associations for many years, where you speak the same language, where you have the same basic rule of law? That’s why we need to come up with an accord that underlines that.”
But he cautioned the British government to tread cautiously in assuming that other Commonwealth countries would automatically welcome the new-found interest, especially after many were cut off from UK markets when it joined the European common market.
“They do, of course, need to acknowledge that they withdrew from all the trading relationships with all the Commonwealth countries and approach it with a degree of humility that recognises that,” he said.
In private, however, many British officials are despairing of the new-found political obsession with the Commonwealth, warning that its mostly small, far-flung and underdeveloped markets are little substitute for lost access to the EU single market.
END OF REPORT
Bible Students fully expected this to be a key development following BREXIT. Bible Prophecy is very clear on the fact that Britain along with the Commonwealth Countries (and America who is also of British origin) make up the King of the South (along with Israel, Eqypt and the Gulf Arab Nations) at the time of the end that will move to stop Russia and Europe from invading the Middle East.
God has declared the End from the Beginning and the Bible (God’s Word) revealed that Britain would not be part of the EU when Christ Returns to Earth, and World Events have conspired to ensure that has now happened. But we need to keep watching this development as there is much to see yet as Britain takes her place once more on the World Political Stage.
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