The UK Government says duty-free access for goods from the world’s poorest countries will be retained even after it has left the European Union.
The developing countries number to forty-eight, which includes Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, Haiti and Ethiopia – will continue to get a hold of this benefit from tons of goods bought by the UK, excluding weapons.
Goods shipped to UK from these countries amounts to £20bn a year, a substantial amount which accounts for half of UK clothing and a quarter of UK coffee.
The Government plans to expand trade relations further even after leaving EU in 2019. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox in a statement said: “Our departure from the EU is an opportunity to step up to our commitments to the rest of the world, not step away from them.”
“Free and fair trade has been the greatest liberator of the world’s poor, and today’s announcement shows our commitment to helping developing countries grow their economies and reduce poverty through trade.”
“Behind the ‘duty-free exports’ are countless stories of people in developing countries working hard to provide for themselves and their families by exporting everyday goods such as cocoa, bananas and roses, resulting in lower prices and greater choice for consumers.”
The Fairtrade Foundation’s Tim Aldred salutes the Government’s vow to strengthen trade with developing countries in a number of areas.
He said: “We are very pleased to hear today’s commitments to guarantee and strengthen the position of the least developed countries who provide such a high quantity of the goods sold in our supermarkets and high streets.”
“The position of poor countries just outside the ‘least developed country’ category, such as Kenya, will need to be clarified.”
“Government will also need to take care that large deals with emerging economies do not push out the sales from the poorest countries.”
Negotiations to leave EU were started by Britain mid-June, first agreeing with
EU’s primary concerns such as a feasible “Brexit Bill” before conferring future trade deals with the union.