Government pledge on post-Brexit market access: Traidcraft Exchange response

26 June 2017

Traidcraft Exchange welcomes yesterday’s announcement that the UK will guarantee duty-free access to the world’s least developed countries (LDCs) post-Brexit.

Liz May, Traidcraft’s Director of Policy said: “This commitment is a great first step in response to our campaign to make sure that developing countries are not left to pay the price of Brexit. It provides much-needed reassurance for businesses and producers in the poorest countries who rely on exports to the UK to earn a living and work their way out of poverty”.

It will also ensure that goods remain competitive and keep prices lower for UK consumers and businesses.

The government also pledged to maintain existing trading arrangements with the world’s poorest non-LDCs while exploring options to improve their market access. In this blog post we provided practical suggestions for the government to achieve this, including improving the range of products benefiting from tariff-free access and more nuanced ways to identify the most vulnerable countries.

Liz May went on: “We look forward to working with the Government as they explore options to fulfil their pledge to secure and improve access for those countries not covered by the ‘Everything But Arms’ (EBA) scheme[1], but who are still vulnerable. Unilateral market access has provided a valuable platform for developing countries to enhance their ability to trade and post-Brexit the UK has a unique opportunity to improve on the existing Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP) and GSP+ schemes[2] while creating a viable alternative to the EU’s problematic Economic Partnership Agreements.”

Traidcraft also welcomes the Government’s commitment to ensuring that UK companies trade in ways that protect human rights and the health and safety of workers. As the UK develops trade policies for the 21st century it should ensure that commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Paris Climate Accord inform its approach.

For further information contact Tom Sharman: or 07757 753 318

[1] ‘Everything But Arms’ – the scheme under which all goods except armaments from Least Developed Countries enter the EU tariff-free.

[2] GSP and GSP+ – these two EU schemes are available to low income and lower middle income countries. A range of goods from eligible countries benefit from reduced or full removal of tariffs.

Tom Sharman