Post-Brexit trade policy and development: current developments; new directions?

Briefing papers
March 2017

The UK will regain control over its trade policy when it exits the EU. As it begins to negotiate new free trade agreements around the world, it is imperative that all of the UK’s current and future trading partners, particularly developing countries, are assured that they will not be worse off as a result of Brexit.

The UK has committed to supporting the economic development of least developed countries, and trade is noted as a core priority in the UK Department for International Development's recently published Economic development strategy. As such, the UK's trade and development policies should be carefully aligned and mutually reinforcing. There is an opportunity to adopt a 'win-win' approach that will benefit both developing countries and the British economy; however, there is a danger that this opportunity will be missed, as to date, developing countries have been largely absent from the discussions around post-Brexit trade.

This briefing explores recent developments in the debate around post-Brexit trade, puts forth recommendations for policy-makers and makes the case for a trade policy that both protects developing economies and benefits the UK economy.