Boris Johnson appears to be reassured by Liz Truss after PMQs
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International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan joined numerous leading politicians earlier today during a virtual meeting of The Ottawa Group. It consists of World Trade Organisation members who want to “urgently modernise” the organisation to promote the benefits of free trade across the planet.
Canada created the group “to address specific challenges that are putting the multilateral trading system under stress”.
It works to “remove trade barriers and support our people” and is seen as an important weapon in Brexit Britain’s armoury to help it prosper outside of the EU.
Sharing a screenshot of a virtual meeting, Canadian commerce minister Mary Ng wrote: “The Ottawa Group had our first meeting of 2022!
“We discussed rules-based trade, with @wto at its core.
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“When it comes to global economic recovery, we need to work together to remove trade barriers and support our people.”
Ms Trevelyan – who succeeded Liz Truss to head up the key post-Brexit department – could be seen beaming alongside other politicians.
In a statement, Ms Ng said that during the meeting – which was also attended by WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – members committed to continuing momentum towards achieving strong outcomes on trade and health, WTO reform, as well as on negotiations related to fisheries subsidies and agriculture.
She said that it emphasised the WTO’s important role in “ensuring that the global trading system contributes to ending the pandemic and future global health crises”.
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The group committed to working closely together to address trade barriers in essential medical goods, export restrictions and customs clearance, she said.
In a statement released afterwards, she added: “As chair of the Ottawa Group, Canada is committed to continuing to work closely with our international partners to strengthen the rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core.
“We are focused on advancing key WTO initiatives and maintaining momentum concerning trade and health, fishery subsidy negotiations and WTO reform to support a strong, sustainable and inclusive global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Speaking after the UK was welcomed into the group last March, Ms Truss said: “The UK looks forward to working closely with all of you to ensure we collectively meet that challenge.”
News of opening up trade relations would be music to the ears of many international firms keen to trade with the UK.
A spokesman for vape firm dab pens said it would help “supercharge” the industry in the UK – which would benefit all parties.
He added: “It makes perfect sense and everyone knows it. Cutting down barriers and encouraging free-flowing trade is what will help the UK flourish.”
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