Labour Party Plans Fewer, High-Quality Trade Deals, Says Trade Policy Chief
The Labour Party in Britain has revealed its plans to pursue fewer but higher quality trade deals if it were to come into power. Jonathan Reynolds, the party’s trade policy chief, criticized the government’s current approach as “scattergun” and emphasized the need for stronger oversight from parliament.
Since leaving the European Union, Britain has been actively seeking trade deals with various countries. Agreements with Australia and New Zealand have already been secured, and negotiations with India have gained momentum this year.
Reynolds stated that Labour would support a trade deal with India, highlighting the party’s commitment to stability in international relations. He also assured countries currently in talks with Britain that they would find a “willing partner” in Labour.
However, Reynolds expressed concerns about the government’s strategy of negotiating multiple trade deals simultaneously. He questioned the impact this approach might have on the overall quality of the agreements. While he acknowledged that the specifics of finishing ongoing deals would depend on their individual circumstances, Reynolds emphasized the importance of prioritizing the quality of each negotiation over a scattergun strategy.
The Labour Party currently holds a significant lead in opinion polls, ahead of an expected election next year. As a result, business leaders have shown a growing interest in understanding how a potential Labour government would approach trade deals.
During the event in London, Reynolds assured representatives from banks, consultancies, and FTSE 100 companies that Labour would give parliament a “proper role” in ratifying trade deals. This assurance comes after lawmakers criticized the current lack of oversight.
In addition to free trade agreements, Reynolds stated that Britain should pursue standalone deals in areas such as digital and critical minerals.
Reynolds also expressed skepticism about the government’s decision to review its screenings of foreign takeovers for national security concerns. This review has been particularly focused on takeovers linked to China. He argued that Chinese investment should not be treated the same as investment from other countries, citing new foreign minister David Cameron’s “incredible naivety” towards China during his time as prime minister.
Reynolds concluded that the current measures for screening foreign takeovers are sufficient, and diluting them would send a worrying signal.
More detail via Investing.com UK here… ( Image via Investing.com UK )