ICwS 'Opinion' publication highlighted by UK government in response to Foreign Affairs Committee report on 'The future of the Commonwealth'

Wednesday 6 February 2013

In the December 2012 issue of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies (ICwS) 'Opinion' publication series Sir Ronald Sanders argued that ' A Commonwealth Free Trade Area is neither likely nor desirable'. This timely edition called into question repeated calls for the UK government to explore closer trading links to Commonwealth member nations.

In the same month, the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC), chaired by Richard Ottaway MP, produced a report on 'The future of the Commonwealth' which outlined the case both for and against a shift in the UK Governement's trade policy.

The UK government has, this month, outlined its position in response to the FAC report citing Sir Ronald and his piece, commissioned by ICwS.

"The Government shares the Committee’s assessment that a Commonwealth Free Trade Area would be difficult to negotiate, given the implications for EU members of the Commonwealth including the UK. As highlighted in a recent opinion piece by former EPG member and international commentator Sir Ronald Sanders, the UK’s earning from exports to Commonwealth members, while significant at 9.76% in 2011, is a way off the 43.6% figure for the UK’s earnings to the EU. We agree that there are more promising avenues which we could pursue to create the conditions in which trade and prosperity can flourish in the Commonwealth."  

ICwS opinion

FAC report


UK Government response