Trade Secretary lays groundwork for independent seat at WTO

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The UK is finalising preparations to become an independent member of World Trade Organization (WTO), taking back control of its trade policy for the first time in 46 years.

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss is attending the WTO Public Forum in Geneva today (Wednesday 9 October) to meet with business leaders and senior trade figures including WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo.

Ms Truss will speak at an event hosted by the International Chamber Commerce, attended by British businesses including BT and Anglo American, and representative organisations like Make UK.

She will urge British business leaders to engage more with the WTO to continue improving the global trade rules and ensure the organisation continues to support an open and predictable global trading environment.

The government’s top priorities at the WTO after Brexit include working with other members to agree new rules on issues that matter to British businesses and households, like digital trade; improving transparency so that British businesses have the information they need on other members’ trade rules; and working to make sure trade disputes are settled in the most effective way to provide certainty and stability for world trade.

The UK has been amongst the most vocal supporters of free trade and has made the case for WTO reform at both the G7 and G20 this year.

Speaking ahead of the visit, International Trade Secretary Liz Truss said:

After 46 years, Britain is on the verge of taking back control of its trade policy and will take its own seat at the table. We live in an increasingly protectionist world and it is vitally important – now more than ever – that Britain and other WTO members fly the flag for free trade.

Britain is back and we will be undeterred in making the case for lower barriers to trade, for lower tariffs and the rules-based system. This approach will see our citizens across the globe prosper.

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