Barry Gardiner

Working Hard for Brent North

Barry sets out vision for international trade in the 21st Century

Yesterday, Barry made a speech setting out Labour's vision for international trade in the 21st Century.


Speaking at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in London, Barry told the audience that the opportunity for the UK to set its own policy on international trade for the first time in decades was both a challenge and an opportunity - an opportunity that Labour, as a proud internationalist party, relishes.

Barry reaffirmed Labour's commitment to fair and open trade. Labour's new internationalism for the 21st  century is based on an ambition to see trade and investment support the highest standards of sustainable growth, decent jobs and shared prosperity.

Barry's speech drew particular attention to five Labour commitments on International Trade:

  • Labour will work with business to develop an integrated trade and industrial strategy, ensuring that our overseas exports and our inward investment support the high-productivity, high- wage and high-skills economy that we aspire to; and vice versa.

  • Labour will use the full range of export credit, finance, insurance and trade promotion tools to boost British exports and to support those sectors we identify as priorities in the industrial strategy.

  • Labour will create a network of regional trade and investment champions up and down the country, to ensure that the interests of businesses right across the UK are represented in our trade strategy, and to include regional representatives on our trade missions overseas.

  • Labour will boost market access for British exports of environmental goods and services, both bilaterally and through our active support for an Environmental Goods Agreement at the Wold Trade Organization (WTO).

  • Labour will to champion the export interests of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by offering them a dedicated export incentive scheme and by ring-fencing grants from the Tradeshow Access Programme to help SMEs reach new customers around the world.

Barry said "The Conservatives have stated that their priority is reducing immigration. Labour believes that the real priority is our economy and the jobs and growth that depend on it. They would sacrifice growth to keep immigration low. We would control immigration to reflect the needs of our economy.

"Our vision can only be an internationalist vision if it extends beyond our own borders. With all the upheaval created by Brexit and the anxiety of a world riven with seemingly intractable conflicts, we need a new model of trade and investment that can restore people’s faith in the power of international relations to do good. That is why a Labour government will match our ambition to open up new markets overseas with a commitment to make trade and investment work in the interests of all people, enhancing rights at work, life opportunities and social standards not just in Britain but across the world.

"As the Labour Party pioneers sought to do 100 years ago, we will use international trade to build bridges between peoples, and to break down walls. We will seek to negotiate new agreements with our trading partners based on the principles of mutual respect and cooperation, with public interest at their heart. A Labour government will ensure that future trade agreements are cast in a new mould that is fit for the challenges of the 21st  century, and we will rebuild confidence in the ability of trade negotiators to serve the public good.

We in the Labour Party are steadfast in our belief that, when correctly designed and properly managed, international trade and foreign investment are – and should be – of genuine benefit to the many, not just the few. For this to become a reality, we need a change of direction. This election offers the people of Britain the opportunity to make that change."

If you'd like to watch the whole speech you can do so here:

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