An Indian expert and broadcaster has revealed how long it will take for Britain's trade with the 52 Commonwealth countries to surpass its trade with the EU - and it will not please Brexiteers.
Ashis Ray told BBC Dateline that it could take a century before Britain's trade with the Commonwealth is stronger than its trade with the European Union. The Indian expert and broadcaster also raised the possibility that this scenario may in fact "never happen" due to global competition.
This prediction follows the Commonwealth summit, CHOGM, which took place in London over five days this week. Theresa May claimed that Britain will put the Commonwealth at the centre of its post-Brexit policy as the country looks to bolster its global trade ties. The Commonwealth accounts for a third of the world's population and 40 percent of people under the age of 30.
However, Ray shot down this ambition, saying: "These FTAs takes a very long time to negotiate. Brexiteers are trying to fool the public by saying the Commonwealth will replace the EU. It’s not going to happen. Today the trade Britain does with the Commonwealth is just nine percent. 44 percent of Britain’s trade is with the EU. It will take a century for any change to take place. Countries in the Commonwealth have a choice. In the past, they had to buy British goods. But each country will go for the best, and the best price, and the best for them economically. It is not about economic ties or sentimental ties."
Ray then called the Commonwealth a "toothless club" without any genuine global weight.
The UK has the chance to strengthen Commonwealth bonds as it prepares to break free from the protectionist trade measures of EU membership.
Michael Sippitt told Express.co.uk the UK is now playing catch up after years of neglect from Europhile politicians. 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.”