This week the UK Government confirmed that free-trade deals already in place with developing countries will remain post Brexit. This is excellent news for producers in developing countries who had serious concerns that their livelihoods could be destroyed by Britain's exit from the European Union.
Currently, developing countries can sell their products tariff-free in the UK due to its membership to the European Union. This means that more money goes straight to the producer that, in turn, helps build stronger economies in developing countries. However, once the UK leaves in two years time, this right is not guaranteed; a consequence that can devastate fragile economies.
In response to this, more than 38,000 people signed our joint petition with the Fairtrade Foundation and Traidcraft, calling on the UK government ensure that Brexit doesn't come at the expense of the world’s most vulnerable. Global Citizens also sent thousands of emails and tweets to the International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, to ensure that developing countries would still be able to trade in the UK tariff-free.
Speaking about the announcement, the Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, 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.”
The Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel, added “The UK is using its position as a great, global trading nation to seize opportunities to lift countries out of grinding poverty. This will generate the wealth, prosperity and investment needed to create millions of jobs and help the world’s poorest people stand on their own two feet.”
This campaign win belongs to you and the supporters of The Fairtrade Foundation, and Traidcraft. As the UK begins to leave the European Union, there are a lot of unknowns. How will the economy cope? What will our trade relationship with Europe look like? But amidst the uncertainty of the next two years, your actions have meant that the sugar cane farmers, the flower growers, or the banana growers of some of the world's poorest countries, have stability going forward.