COMMONWEALTH leaders dined with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace last night as talk over how to best boost Brexit Britain’s trading future raged. One trade expert told Express.co.uk that the UK is right to pursue "the world outside Europe” and celebrates the Queen’s role in “keeping the door open”.
As world leaders come together for the Heads of Government Meeting in London this week, talk will soon turn to the future of the 52 Commonwealth members, and the development of global Britain
The UK has the chance to strengthen Commonwealth bonds as it prepares to break free from the stifling and protectionist trade measures of EU membership.
However, the UK has work to do with one trade expert warning that to “maximise global trade” the UK must repair the damage following years of EU allegiance and “insufficient attention” given to the trade potential of the Commonwealth.
Michael Sippitt, Chairman of Clarkslegal spoke to Express.co.uk about the potential for the Commonwealth at its economic best.
Mr Sippitt says that the UK is now playing catch up after years of neglect from Europhile politicians. He says the fact that there is still a Commonwealth with which to trade, “owes more to the Queen than to successive governments of both parties.”
He said: “The good news is that the Commonwealth is generally keen to engage more with the UK and the spirit of working in mutual interest is there to build on. Developing trade with more countries requires a lot more focus on those different markets and what is needed to improve their national economies.
“The UK has largely focused on building EU markets and is having to learn a lot quickly about doing business with the 93 percent of the world that does not live in Europe.”
Mr Sippitt said the very best case scenario for the years ahead points to the UK - as a sophisticated and rich economy - exploiting the digital economy to maximise global trade. The UK-led digitalisation of trade, he adds, will reduce trade costs, improve access to market for many Commonwealth countries, and increase the UK’s trade opportunities to fast growing markets.
He said: “The UK has immense capabilities in trade and technology to share. It will now be in the UK’s interest to apply its resources to building new markets to trade with.
“At present 3.9 billion of the world has no internet access. All efforts to build digital capacity and educate people to use technologies well is going to also help UK prosperity in years to come.”
In 2010 columnist Peter Oborne argued that the UK should “rebuild the Commonwealth” and slammed the Blair government’s treatment of some of the world’s fastest growing nations.
He wrote: “The idea that the Commonwealth is antiquated is absurd. It is a free association of 53 sovereign states, making up slightly more than 30 per cent of the world’s population, from every major continent and world religion.
“It costs us just 20p per head a year, a fraction of the £52 per person absorbed by the European Union. More than half of its 1.7 billion citizens are under 25 and its guiding principles are open, humane and democratic.
“Its membership includes some of the most fast-growing and significant countries in the world – India, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia and - though Tony Blair and co did their best to forget this - Britain.
And after years of neglect from Labour, Conservative and Coalition governments, Mr Sippitt says that, “maybe the UK can teach the world to love us a bit more?”
He adds that, “it is certainly in our hands to do that,” praising the Queen for “keeping the door open for so long in her unwavering love for the Commonwealth family.”