Thank you for contacting me about the role that trade can play in helping the world’s poorest.
As you correctly highlight, alongside the great opportunities increased trade brings to this country, we must ensure that developing nations share in these benefits. I have always believed that free trade is one of the most powerful tools we have to help those in the greatest need around the world, and ensure that countries have the tools they require to be able to trade their way out of poverty.
Continuity will be sought in our trading relationships with developing countries as we leave the European Union, which includes replicating the effects of the EU’s Economic Partnership (EPAs). As we leave the EU, we will also secure existing duty-free access for the world’s poorest countries to UK markets. This commitment means that around 48 least developed countries across the globe will continue to benefit from duty-free exports into the UK on all goods, other than arms and ammunition. It is also the wish of our partner countries that, first and foremost, this continuity is maintained as we leave the EU. However, the Government has made clear that it wishes to update these agreements once we have left the EU.
The UK is of course fully committed to promoting and delivering the sustainable development goals and is the first and only G7 country to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas development assistance. I am pleased that there will be scrutiny and engagement that is inclusive, meaningful and transparent and is coherent with the need to ensure we do not undermine our negotiating position.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.