A picture is emerging of likely British trade and aid policies towards developing countries after Brexit. That picture is just as disturbing as two other likely consequences of Brexit that I detailed in my previous article – a deepening of relations with authoritarian regimes and a new era of military power projection. Together, these policies indicate that Britain will try to lead the world not in promoting human rights or economic diversity but in championing a hardline, neo-liberal economic order benefitting British and Western corporations.
First, the big policy constantly highlighted by the government since the June referendum is its role as the ‘global leader’ for free trade. Prime Minister Theresa May has said:
‘The UK will remain the most passionate, consistent and convincing global advocate of free trade. We will seize the opportunities of our departure from the EU to forge a new role for the UK in the world’.
Trade Minister Mark Garnier says that policy is to ‘ensure that Britain becomes the global leader in free trade once we leave the EU’.
This championing of free trade refers not only to developed countries but also to the poorest and developing countries. Britain will ‘drive even greater openness with international partners’ including the Commonwealth.
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