The Commonwealth, with its historic links between states, a population of 2.3 billion, a combined economy of more than $10 trillion and annual GDP growth in excess of 4%, is uniquely placed to become a driving force behind global trade for development. Commonwealth Ministers convened for the first time in London from 9-10 March 2017 – ahead of this meeting, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Trade out of Poverty and the Overseas Development Institute organised a Cocktail Reception on 8 March in the House of Commons. The Reception served as the launch event of the publication ‘10 Commonwealth Policy Priorities for Trade and Development’. The purpose of the publication is to provide actionable recommendations on how to achieve inclusive trade and investment policies across the Commonwealth.
Ministers responsible for trade, industry and investment discussed ‘An Agenda for Growth’ and assessed how the Commonwealth can work together to strengthen trade and investment links between member countries and develop a policy agenda ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. Understanding how the shared values of the Commonwealth as well as language, institutions, similar legal and regulatory systems, make average trade costs 19% lower between Commonwealth countries was also discussed, and how countries can better exploit this advantage to deliver sustainable trade and development. Jointly convened by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) this meeting offered a unique opportunity for Ministers to consult with trade experts and business leaders.
The policy brief can be downloaded here.