01 May 2017

‘Global Britain: Priorities for trade beyond the EU’ is Open Europe’s latest contribution to building an intellectual framework for the UK’s new global role outside the European Union. In it we use a gravity model to assess the UK’s current trade position with non-EU partners and highlight relationships that could be developed to deliver more, taking into account economic geography and other factors that encourage cooperation in areas like research and diplomacy. You can read a summary of the key findings here, or download the full report here.

The report has attracted wide media interest and coverage.

Bloomberg highlighted one of the report’s key conclusions: that the UK’s options for encouraging trade after Brexit are not limited to Free Trade Agreements:

The British government shouldn’t necessarily be too preoccupied with free-trade agreements, Open Europe said, since bilateral investment treaties or agreements on specific trade issues could be pursued even if a full FTA is difficult to achieve.

The Daily Telegraph also reported this finding, elaborating on the measures available to the UK:

If it plays its cards right, the UK government could compensate for decreased trade with the European Union by improving agreements with other countries, according to Open Europe… The Government should use a range of tools to improve trade, prioritising these target countries, including investment treaties, targeted agreements to tackle specific barriers to trade, and, where possible, free trade agreements (FTAs).

Writing a guest article for CapX, Open Europe’s Stephen Booth reiterated the report’s recommendation that that UK should remain open to business travellers and international students as part of a wider international cooperation and trade promotion strategy. This was also a point drawn out in a review by The Independent:

The UK should also exploit its soft power more effectively, including the reach of its universities as well as its deep historical connections with many countries, the think tank said.