The Commonwealth is home to 2.4 billion people on 5 continents around the world. Member countries range from India to Canada to the Seychelles and the Bahamas. In terms of population size, GDP growth, and diversity of people and geography, the EU does not come close. If Theresa May can find the vision, we can lead the Commonwealth. The risk is, she’s just going to bungle it .
Great Britain used to have global reach and influence like no other nation on earth. But, in 1973, we gave up much of this to join what was then the Common Market.
Come midnight on March 29th, 2019, when we finally Leave the European Union, Britain can once again become truly global, reaffirming our place atop the Commonwealth, and striking new and lasting deals with emerging economies.
In August, the Prime Minister pledged a sum total of £4 billion of investment for growing African economies, as well as deepening economic and trading ties. By re-engaging with rising stars like South Africa, Britain can enhance its economic capabilities and significantly boost post-Brexit trade.
Other African nations will also be beneficial to this aim. Nigeria, for example, is Britain’s 2nd largest trading partner on the African continent. There are many exciting opportunities to be embraced once Britain unshackles herself from the protectionist EU bloc.
The Commonwealth is home to 2.4 billion people on 5 continents around the world. Member countries range from India to Canada to the Seychelles and the Bahamas. In terms of population size, GDP growth, and diversity of people and geography, the European Union does not come close. These basic facts helped to blow apart the arguments of Project Fear when they screech about losing our main economic partners, becoming an insular country, and rejecting international collaborations.
They are wrong on every point.
As long as we leave the Common External Tariff, we will be able to strike our own bilateral or multilateral trade agreements with whomever we please, without having to first negotiate the terms with 27 other disparate nations. This new freedom to be found outside the Customs Union will engender prosperity for UK consumers and manufacturers, and people and business all over the world, but especially in relation to Commonwealth countries.
By their own estimations, the combined GDP of Commonwealth countries is $10 trillion, with this predicted to rise to $13 trillion by 2020. The greatest reason to invest in this market is its growth: half of the world’s top 20 emerging cities are in Commonwealth nations, with average annual GDP growth surpassing that of the EU, which has been stuck in economic malaise for years. India alone is expected to grow at a rate of 7.4% in 2018, making it the fastest growing major economy.
Imagine if we were able to strike Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with these nations. Britain can offer them our world class services – including education – in return for cheaper food and manufactured products. It’s a win-win opportunity. In fact, Commonwealth nations already get more for their money when they trade amongst each other: it is approximately 19% cheaper than non-Commonwealth nations.
It is not merely the fact of the Commonwealth’s economic potential, but the already existing, ingrained commonalities between these nations and Britain which will ease future negotiations. Australia, New Zealand, and Canada are amongst our closest allies – we share not just a monarch, but a language, a culture, and a commitment to liberal democracy.
These shared traits and institutions help us twofold.
Firstly, they encourage any trade agreement to be based on mutual trust and respect, and a genuine desire for reciprocal success.
Secondly, we have similar legal systems, the same language and understanding of one another’s political institutions; a great deal of the burden which comes with negotiating FTAs is reduced.