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Commonwealth: International Cooperation and Trade

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 163146, tabled on 4 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to increase (a) trade and (b) cooperation with all Commonwealth countries.

Answered on

12 March 2021

The UK is committed to working with our friends and allies across the Commonwealth to remove barriers to free and fair trade and liberalise the global trading environment, supporting a modern approach to trade. At CHOGM18, Leader's agreed the ambition of increasing intra-Commonwealth trade and investment to US$2 trillion by 2030; and adopted a declaration on the Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment. Six member states now lead cooperation on: physical, digital, regulatory, business-to-business, and supply side connectivity, all with the goal of increasing the inclusivity and sustainability of trade.

We remain committed to helping developing countries reduce poverty through trade. Through UK-funding to the Commonwealth Standards Network, since 2018, we have supported 50 of the Commonwealth's 54 members to tackle non-tariff trade barriers by increasing awareness and adoption of international standards. Through a range of training and capacity building opportunities, SheTrades Commonwealth has been helping women-owned businesses build strong brands, develop export strategies and grow their client bases.

In the Commonwealth Statement on the COVID-19 pandemic, issued in July 2020 and initiated by the UK, Heads' recommitted to working transparently and constructively within the Commonwealth family and with our international partners to address COVID-19 and its impacts, build resilience, particularly for developing economies and the most vulnerable countries , and ensure no one is left behind. They also reaffirmed their unwavering commitment to the core values and principles of the Commonwealth Charter, committed to work in the spirit of global cooperation, unity and solidarity to protect the health of all our citizens, and restated their commitment to the multilateral trading system and a free fair, inclusive, predictable and stable trade and investment environment.