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Trade with Commonwealth Countries

Volume 716: debated on Thursday 16 June 2022

Mr Speaker, may I also associate myself with your remarks about Jo Cox and her legacy? My thoughts are with her family today.

Pre-pandemic, the combined GDP of the Commonwealth was $9 trillion, and nearly 80% of that was due to four nations: us, India, Canada, with which we are now negotiating a free trade agreement, and Australia, with which we have already secured a from-scratch FTA. With 27 economic partnerships, we intend to boost our intra-Commonwealth trade to $2 trillion by 2030.

In this year of the platinum jubilee, what better time could there be to cement our bond with Commonwealth countries? Does my right hon. Friend agree that this would be an excellent year to redouble our efforts to increase trade with those nations, which have such a strong history with our own?

I thank my hon. Friend for raising that. Yes, we have the jubilee, and we also have the Commonwealth games, and the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting is approaching. It is right that we celebrate and enhance the power of our Commonwealth family. We are united in our commitment to democracy, peace and prosperity, and we will continue to work with our partners to capture the potential of the Commonwealth advantage, which on average allows for 21% lower bilateral trade costs between Commonwealth countries, compared with most non-Commonwealth countries. We should put all our weight behind maximising that.