Business, Freight News

Board of Trade to rise again, say Tories

[ May 19, 2017   //   ]

The Conservative party said it would reconvene the Board of Trade and that it would be “specially charged with ensuring increased exports from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England” in its general election manifesto, published on 18 May.

The manifesto also promised that a future Conservative government would create a network of Trade Commissioners heading nine new regional overseas posts to lead export promotion, investment and trade policy overseas.

A Conservative government would also “ensure immediate stability by lodging new UK schedules with the World Trade Organisation, in alignment with EU schedules to which we are bound while still a member of the European Union.”

It would seek to replicate all existing EU free trade agreements and support the ratification of trade agreements entered into during the UK’s EU membership.

Labour in its manifesto said a future Labour government would work with the devolved administrations to boost exports, and would publish an International Trade White Paper to lead a national debate on the future of Britain’s trade policy, with proper transparency and parliamentary scrutiny of all future trade deals, working  to develop best-in-class free trade and investment agreements that removed trade barriers and promoted skilled jobs and high standards.

The Liberal Democrats pledged to ensure that trade with the EU could continue without customs controls at the border, and that the UK must maintain membership of the single market.

Chamber of Shipping chief executive Guy Platten described the Conservatives plan to reconvene the Board of Trade as “long overdue – but it must avoid becoming just another Government committee, and instead focus on becoming a dynamic collaboration between industry and government, working together to explore and exploit the opportunities of Brexit. Shipping moves 95% of the UK’s international trade, and Government must ensure there is a major role for the private sector on the Board.  If they get this right, it could be very exciting.”