Thank you for your email regarding the role of trade in the helping the World’s poorest, in light of the referendum. Please accept my apology for the delay in responding. You may be aware that I supported a vote to leave the EU. One of my reasons for doing this was because I object to the tariffs the EU puts on product from the World’s poorest countries in order to protect the profits of EU produces. As the foremost country of the Commonwealth I believe there is a real opportunity to provide trading relations with developing countries that could lead to far stronger and sustainable economies. The take on of the Sustainable Development Goals, in which I am particularly supportive of, will increase the push for this, namely: Goal 2, 3, 8, 9, 10, 14 and 17. You can read about this further at: http://thecommonwealth.org/sites/default/files/news-items/documents/GlobalTradeSlowdownBrexit.pdf.
Following our decision to leave the EU, the UK now has the ability to shape its own trade policy. There are many opportunities and responsibilities that come with this. We must now capitalise on harnessing new export opportunities, attracting inward investment and building UK dynamism by making the UK the best place in the world to do business.
As you have highlighted, it is right that alongside the great opportunities that increased trade brings to this country, we must ensure that developing nations share in these benefits. I believe that free trade is a powerful tool to help those in the greatest need around the world.
Ministers are clear that the UK will seek to be a global advocate for free trade, ensuring that the Government works constructively to help eradicate global poverty, including as part of future UK trade policy.
Thank you once again for contacting me, please do not hesitate to get in contact with me if you require any further information.
Derek Thomas MP
For St Ives, West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.