Principles, constraints and elements of a UK trade policy for developing countries

Briefing papers
December 2016

Brexit has fundamental implications for trade policy design and implementation in the UK. It will mean the development of a fundamentally new relationship with the EU, the UK’s main economic partner. The UK will gain the freedom to design and negotiate its trade policy, including with developing countries. This constitutes both a great challenge and great opportunity for both the UK and developing economies.

This briefing aims firstly to identify a series of principles that should form the basis of a new international trade policy. Some principles apply to UK trade policy generally, whilst others are targeted to special provisions that may be designed to support developing countries. Secondly, the briefing discusses the constraints to making trade policy in practice. Within a feasible space defined by the constraints, and based on the principles outlined, the UK will need to design its general trade policy and any specific actions towards developing countries. Finally, a number of feasible trade policy options are presented that are sound in design, are based on principles and take into account specific political constraints.