Brexit Britain's UKEF looks to Commonwealth 2.0

(EURACTV, Brussels, 6 April 201) It used to be a Eurosceptic fantasy for the Commonwealth to replace the EU as the UK’s main trading partner. That may still be a fantasy, but Theresa May’s government sees the organisation, which includes Australia, Canada, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Pakistan and Singapore, as a launch pad for negotiating bilateral trade agreements and has earmarked six Commonwealth members as priorities for renewed incentives to promote trade and investment. Britain has already promised to double the current export credit finance for trade and investment with South Africa to £3.5 billion. South Africa is critical of the EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with African regional blocs and expects Britain, once outside the EU, to offer better terms. In economic terms the Commonwealth is a fraction of the size of the EU market. Forty-two percent of the UK’s exports went to the EU in 2017, compared to around 7% for the ten largest Commonwealth markets.