Trade ministers pledge to harness Commonwealth advantage at historic meeting

Commonwealth meeting in London 2017
Commonwealth trade and investment ministers concluded their two-day meeting in London. Photo: The Commonwealth.

Commonwealth trade and investment ministers concluded their two-day meeting in London on Friday with a commitment to make full use of the ‘Commonwealth advantage’ to boost trade within the 52-member bloc.

Ministers and representatives from more than 35 countries attended the meeting, jointly convened by the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council.

In her address to ministers, Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “On trade, our family has never been more needed that it is today. We all know that we’ve been living in troubled times and together we will have to look very carefully at what advantages there are within our family.  Intra-Commonwealth trade has never been more important.

“There is a 19 per cent trade advantage within the Commonwealth. We must see how the global trade landscape can be changed in favour of that advantage and the particular factors that drive and differentiate intra-Commonwealth trade and investment be improved.”

At the meeting, ministers focused on opportunities for the Commonwealth to strengthen collaboration by promoting intra-Commonwealth trade and investment flows. They identified key challenges hindering trade competitiveness and discussed how to overcome them through mutual support.

Ministers underscored the importance of building a global economy that benefits all of the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion citizens, noting that developing countries need an enabling global trading environment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.