The “global multilateral rules-based trade system” refers to a system of regulations and agreements governing trade between different countries. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the largest and generally considered the most important body regulating global trade. This policy of support for the global rules-based trade system can be assessed by looking at UK government involvement in and support for the WTO.
The UK’s relationship with the WTO is complicated by ongoing uncertainty around Britain’s exit from the European Union (see various policies in our Europe category). However, the UK will certainly have to remain part of the WTO to guarantee future economic stability, whether inside or outside of the EU. To that end, the International Trade Secretary attended the WTO Ministerial Conference in December 2017, confirming commitment to the WTO, as well as the desire to establish new trade initiatives.
In spite of the confusion surrounding Brexit negotiations with the EU, the government has been actively planning for post-Brexit relations with the WTO:
- July 2018 – UK submitted a draft schedule to the WTO outlining post-Brexit goods commitments
- December 2018 – UK submitted draft post-Brexit services commitments to the WTO
- February 2019 – Parties to the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) gave approval to the UK’s accession to the pact post-Brexit
The government again affirmed their commitment in February 2019, as the then International Trade Secretary Liam Fox spoke of the importance of multilateral systems and working with the WTO. He also outlined the government’s initiatives for 2019 with the WTO.
This is a promise to “continue to support” the global multilateral rules-based trade system. The evidence above shows continued support and engagement with the WTO, demonstrating support of rules-based multilateral trade. On that basis we’re marking this as ‘done’.
Want the Evidence?
- The WTO – World Trade Oranization
- United Kingdom news archive – World Trade Organization
- Multilateralism, Bilateralism, and Unilateralism in Foreign Policy – Oxford research Encyclopedias
- Principles of the trading system – WTO
- UK announces £18 million to help world’s poorest through trade – Gov.uk
- UK to lead call for free trade at WTO’s biggest conference – Gov.uk
- Britain’s place in the global trading system – Gov.uk