LONDON — After nearly 50 years, the United Kingdom is an independent trading nation once again.
This is an unparalleled opportunity to turn our vision of Global Britain into reality, driving forward an export-led and investment-led recovery by championing free and fair trade.
As the U.K. government set out on Tuesday in its Integrated Review, the fullest assessment by a British government of its place in the world since the Cold War, we are determined to shape the international order of the future — a new era rich in jobs and opportunity for people in developing and developed nations alike.
We are driven in this approach by our fierce belief in the benefits of free trade, from lower prices to higher wages and productivity.
Free and fair trade is the best way forward for us all. It is the force that has reduced poverty on a scale unprecedented in human history, lit the spark for transformative innovation and brought great prosperity.
But in recent times, faith in free enterprise and free trade has faltered. Protectionist rhetoric and action has increased, and some nations have raised barriers to trade further during the pandemic, which the U.K. completely rejects.
To restore support for free trade, we must make it fair and show it delivers things the public care about: better jobs, more prosperous communities, higher standards of living, a greener planet. We will do that by tackling practices ranging from state-sponsored forced labor to the degradation of environmental standards and the use of unreported industrial subsidies to gain a trading advantage.
Now is the time to turn the page. This year, the U.K. is stepping up as president of the G7 and host of COP26 to build a united front of allies driven by common values and modern outlooks.
Together, we will lead the charge for a more effective, modern and green World Trade Organization that keeps pace with the opportunities and challenges of modern trade. We must grasp the next ministerial conference under WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as an opportunity to build back a better trading environment in which everyone plays by the rules and the full benefits of trade are felt worldwide.
We will work together to reshape the rules of global trade to reflect our core values: democracy, human rights and high standards across the board from environment and labor rights to data flows and intellectual property.
The U.K.’s values-driven policy has already delivered successes in trade negotiationscd. We have struck advanced deals covering 66 countries plus the European Union to secure £890 billion of trade. Our deal with the EU is the first the bloc has agreed based on zero tariffs and zero quotas. It covers services and has strong measures for digital trade. We have agreed cutting-edge provisions for digital and data in our deal with Japan, and are pursuing ambitious agreements with the United States, Australia and New Zealand.
We intend to be at the heart of the action, which is why the U.K. is deepening trade with markets in the Indo-Pacific region — which is set to dominate the global economy by the end of the decade — and applying to join 11 vibrant economies as part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Just as free trade made the U.K. great in the 19th century, we can be even greater still in the 21st by becoming a global hub for services and digital trade.
Already, the prime minister has launched our new Office for Investment, showing that his door is truly open to potential investors in Global Britain. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has launched our first raft of freeports, and I have launched our lower, simpler and greener U.K. Global Tariff regime.
As the Integrated Review sets out, Global Britain means local jobs — by which I mean that the opportunities we are pursuing overseas will support livelihoods across our country. Research last week released by the Department for International Trade estimated that 6.5 million local jobs were reliant on U.K. exports.
By securing new opportunities overseas, businesses in all parts of the U.K. will be able to grow through exporting, whether it is Scotch whisky distillers, Welsh lamb farmers or car manufacturers in the Midlands.
Trade and investment also help the U.K. play to its strengths as a science and tech superpower by securing high-quality jobs in the industries that will define our future through innovation and clean technology. They range from the factory in North Wales producing hundreds of millions of doses of the U.K.-developed coronavirus vaccine to the British innovators in the north of England building the U.K.’s first electric car battery “gigafactory.”
What is good for Britain is good for the world. We are helping build back better by unleashing our full potential, creating new jobs, businesses and industries across the U.K. and beyond. This is Global Britain in action.