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Commonwealth Symposium on Trade and Prosperity

Monday 11 September 2017 to Thursday 14 September 2017

Venue: Attlee Suite

As the UK prepares to exit the European Union (EU), a new landscape is emerging. The UK’s trading relationships with Commonwealth nations have long been governed through EU policies means these trade relations are at a crucial turning point. Risk and uncertainty are coupled with potential opportunities for trade and investment, especially considering that in 2015, almost 16 percent of Commonwealth developing countries’ overall exports were destined for the EU (including the UK).

This dialogue on the future of global trade takes place within the context of an obligation by 193 UN nations on the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) agreed at the 3rd UN Financing for Development Conference in 2015. The UK is committed to the AAAA which sets out initiatives intended to support achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through global partnerships.

At the G20 meeting in early July 2017, trade was at the top of the agenda with leaders committing to strengthened cooperation and a recognition that “well-functioning labour markets contribute to inclusive and cohesive societies and resilient economies”. For the Commonwealth, with a combined GDP of $10trillion, blossoming economies and a young population; any growth in intra-Commonwealth trade offers huge opportunities to promote its “Agenda for Growth”.

With the World Trade Organisation (WTO) pushing for liberalisation of trade, and with momentum growing amongst countries adopting the 2017 Trade Facilitation Agreement, national governments are focused on negotiating deals that prioritise the elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers. Trade is recognised as having huge potential for prosperity that has a real impact on citizens and improves the lives of those living in poverty in developing countries.

Parliaments can play a key role in scrutinizing and ultimately ratifying trade deals. Parliamentary scrutiny enhances transparency of supply chains to curb organised crime, modern slavery and illicit financial flows. How do parliamentarians ensure that the trade their government pursues in this new climate is efficient and effective, benefits the population, reduces poverty and is conducted in an ethical and responsible way?

As we count down to the Commonwealth Summit in April 2018, CPA UK has convened a symposium of parliamentarians, experts and thinkers and national and international organisations to unpack these fascinating and highly topical issues through facilitated roundtable discussions, keynote addresses, field visits, case study examinations and networking opportunities.

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