The Commonwealth Secretary General, Patricia Scotland, has continued to express her optimism about the future of Commonwealth/UK trade post-Brexit.
In a statement on 26 May, following a financial services conference in London attended by the High Commissioners of Australia, Canada and India, she pointed out that the cost of doing business between Commonwealth countries is, on average, 19 per cent cheaper than between non-member countries. This is because of a shared common language, common law, common institutions and common parliamentary structures.
Former UK Foreign Minister, Hugo Swire, now deputy chair of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, observed that small and medium businesses in Commonwealth countries need to be better equipped to trade, to do business with each other, and for the Commonwealth to be there to help them ‘up their game’ in order to compete effectively.
Since 2005, the share by the Commonwealth in the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) has increased and has overtaken the share of the European Union.
Last word to Mr Swire: ‘If you judge a club by the length of the queue of those seeking membership, then the Commonwealth is in robust health’.
The London conference was followed a few days later by the first India-Commonwealth Small and Medium Enterprises trade summit in Delhi, attended by representatives from 300 Indian firms and more than 100 businesses from other countries.