Brexit Britain Retakes Independent Seat at World Trade Organization

TOPSHOT - EU Council staff members remove the United Kingdom's flag from the European Council building in Brussels on Brexit Day, January 31, 2020. - Britain leaves the European Union at 2300 GMT on January 31, 2020, 43 months after the country voted in a June 2016 referendum to leave …
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The United Kingdom has retaken her independent seat at the World Trade Organization after formerly being represented by the European Union since the WTO was founded in 1995.

The UK’s ambassador, Julian Braithwaite, gave the country’s first independent speech after the country left the bloc on Friday, pledging to fix the WTO.

“The United Kingdom has long been a strong believer in the role of the multilateral trading system to unlock growth, reduce poverty and open markets for least-developed, developed and developing countries alike.

“The stability and predictability of this system remains vital to all of us, and the United Kingdom is committed to supporting the international institution that underpins it. There are big challenges facing the WTO today. It is important that these are addressed, and the United Kingdom will play its part in doing so,” Mr Braithwaite said in comments reported by the i newspaper.

Mr Braithwaite had taken his seat next to the United States’s representative. Mr Raab has reportedly instructed British diplomats not to sit next to EU representatives in a move to signal that Britain is going global and will not be operating in Brussels’ shadow.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss had remarked on an independent Britain returning to the WTO, saying: “This is an historic moment which will give us an independent voice at the WTO for the first time since its inception.”

Ms Truss continued that the UK will do “everything in our power to help strengthen and reform it”.

The UK is looking to increase her international trade after the EU transition period comes to an end in December 2020, through signing free trade agreements with countries such as the United States, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. Mr Raab is to visit Australia, Japan, Malaysia, and Singapore over the next few days to discuss FTAs.

While the UK also seeks a Canada-style trade deal with the EU, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made it clear that without a good deal, the UK will simply trade with the European bloc on WTO terms by the end of this year if necessary.

Both Treasury Secretary Rishi Sunak and senior Cabinet minister Michael Gove have said that the UK does not need a deal to trade with the EU.


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