Shaping the conversation on the future of UK trade

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As the United Kingdom enters a new era of trade after leaving the European Union, the government must now develop a strategic trade policy that balances multiple stakeholder priorities. This task has become yet more pressing in light of the challenge of COVID-19 economic recovery. Emily Jones, Director of the Global Economic Governance Programme and Associate Professor in Public Policy at the Blavatnik School, has been working to define and address the major concerns, challenges and opportunities around UK trade policy. She has also worked with colleagues at the Blavatnik School to bring together academics, policymakers, business representatives and other stakeholders to engage on this important issue.

  • On 21 January, Emily moderated a workshop on the future of UK trade policy co-hosted by the Blavatnik School of Government and the International Chamber of Commerce UK. The workshop facilitated a stakeholder dialogue between UK business organisations, trade unions, and consumer and civil society groups. It resulted in broad consensus on diverse issues, including: increasing the transparency of trade negotiations; restructuring and reforming the nature of stakeholder engagement and consultation; and aligning UK trade policy with other priorities in the areas of economic recovery, human rights and climate action and sustainability.
  • On 26 January, Emily provided evidence to the UK's All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Trade and Export Promotion. In submitting evidence to the APPG, Emily highlighted three areas of UK trade policy: parliamentary scrutiny, engagement with devolved administrations and stakeholder consultation.
  • On 27 January, Emily gave oral evidence to the International Trade Committee alongside a number of experts and business representatives as part of the committee's inquiry into digital trade and data.
  • On 27 January, the Global Economic Governance Programme and Digital Pathways at Oxford co-hosted – with the International Chamber of Commerce UK and Open Rights Group – a multi-stakeholder workshop on the ‘Implications of digital trade provisions in UK trade agreements’. The UK government has identified digital trade as a priority for its 'Global Britain' trade agenda, but has yet to set out how it will approach this complex area of trade policy. The workshop tackled a number of points of concern that were identified by Emily Jones and her research team and allowed representatives of different stakeholder groups to share their aspirations and concerns about digital trade, in addition to practical ideas of what the UK government might do.

This work arises from activities funded by Research England’s Strategic Priorities Fund allocation to the University of Oxford.

Read the news story on the Blavatnik School of Government website for more information about Emily's work on the future of UK trade policy.