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Theresa May seeks Commonwealth trade boost as final Brexit talks begin

The lavish week-long Commonwealth meeting, split across landmark locations in London, is likely to be overshadowed by May's decision to join US and French air strikes on Syria

Reuters  |  London 

Theresa May, British PM Theresa May, May, Prince Harry, Commonwealth countries, trade, European union, EU, Queen Elizabeth, , free-trade agreement, Syria gas attack, Syria chemical attack, Brexit, EU, global trade, Australia, India,New Zealand
Theresa May and Prince Harry at the Commonwealth Youth Forum in London. (Photo: Reuters)

British Prime Minister on Monday extolled the benefits of free among Commonwealth countries, seeking new sources of commerce as Britain looks to finalise divorce terms with its current biggest trading partner, the

is looking to win the support of the Commonwealth, a network of mostly former British colonies, for future deals at a meeting of its leaders in London, and bolster her argument that the future is bright after

The Commonwealth, headed by Queen Elizabeth, is not a formal trading bloc with a free-agreement. In 2015 it accounted for only 9 percent of British exports while by contrast the EU, which Britain voted to leave in 2016, accounted for around 44 percent.

Speaking at the opening of a Commonwealth business forum, urged the use of common standards across the network of 53 countries, warning that global growth was fragile and that protectionism posed a clear threat to the world

"With its unique scope and global voice, such a Commonwealth can set a powerful example to the world, one that demonstrates and underlines the importance of protecting free and the rules-based order," she said.

"Freer and easier means stronger economies, more jobs, more choice and lower prices."

The lavish week-long Commonwealth meeting, split across landmark locations in London, is likely to be overshadowed by May's decision to join US and French air strikes on Syria on Saturday in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack.

 

COMMONWEALTH FAMILY

Britain's appeal to the Commonwealth comes as negotiators prepare to begin work on a future agreement with the EU, which the government hopes will allow frictionless with the bloc to continue. The has said Britain cannot enjoy the benefits of its single market after leaving.

May's ministers have spent much of their time since the 2016 exit vote touring the globe, touting Britain's ability to negotiate its own deals with countries including Commonwealth states such as Australia, India, and as one of the main benefits of life outside the

"Our Commonwealth family already accounts for one-fifth of global trade," said in a statement before the meeting.

"And we must continue to work together to build further upon this solid foundation by building on our existing links and establishing new ones."

announced new programmes to free up trade, improve the skills of young people and boost women's participation in business, including an offer of 7 million pounds ($10 million) in Commonwealth-wide support to boost businesses owned by women in countries where being female is a professional barrier.

also announced funding for a new Commonwealth Standards Network to establish a common language for goods and services to help boost ($1 = 0.7022 pounds)

 

 

First Published: Mon, April 16 2018. 21:32 IST
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