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  • Author: Katarina Schwarz, Todd Landman, Katrina Peake
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham
  • Abstract: Throughout the period of the United Kingdom’s membership in the European Union (EU) and under the status quo, the EU possesses exclusive competence of its Common Commercial Policy. It therefore does not have to consult the UK when developing trade agreements, and the UK’s part in these processes is defined by its role within the EU. The UK alone does not determine the existence, scope, or terms of trade relationships with third countries. However, after exiting the EU, the United Kingdom will exercise more substantial, and ultimate, decision-making power over the nature of trade with external partners. This creates an opportunity for the development and evolution of new, direct trading relationships with countries beyond the EU—relationships that are likely to have increasing significance in the UK economy after withdrawal and over time. As Prime Minister Theresa May recognised in a speech in Florence: "Our relations with countries outside the EU can be developed in new ways, including through our own trade negotiations, because we will no longer be an EU country, and we will no longer directly benefit from the EU’s future trade negotiations." Many aspects of these agreements are open to negotiation, creating new possibilities for the UK to expand its influence in a variety of areas, and to address particular challenges faced within the borders of trading partners.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Bilateral Relations, Brexit, Trade, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Asia
  • Author: Georgia Spiliopoulos, Stephen Timmons
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham
  • Abstract: The UK Referendum decision to leave the European Union in June 2016 exacerbated some of the long-standing challenges the National Health Service (NHS) has been facing in recruiting and retaining nursing staff. In 2018, it was estimated that one in eight posts was vacant, which translates into 36,000 nursing vacancies (King’s Fund, 2018). Arguably, these challenges have been present since the founding of the NHS in 1948. Pre-established initiatives recruiting overseas nurses to deal with acute staffing shortages during the war effort, mainly from the Commonwealth, were also adopted by the NHS. Hence, the Nurses’ Act of 1949 relaxed the criteria for the registration of overseas nurses set up by the General Nursing Council (Solano and Rafferty, 2007). Therefore, we can trace historical developments in recruiting non-UK nurses, which reflect changing state regulations over time, connected to particular political and financial factors, xenophobic rhetoric and also problems in retaining British nursing staff (Bach, 2007; Ball, 2004; Cangiano et al, 2009; Simpkin and Mossialos, 2017; Solano and Rafferty, 2007). In the 1950s, for example, significant numbers of overseas nurses entered the UK as trainees, while an even higher number of British nurses emigrated abroad, fuelling concerns over training of overseas nurses but also bringing to the forefront anxieties over race (Solano and Rafferty, 2007). An illustrative example of political will influencing recruitment of overseas nurses was seen in New Labour’s push for a ‘modernization agenda’ in the late 1990s and subsequently, a push for international recruitment (Deeming, 2004). However, aggressive recruitment initiatives targeting nursing staff from developing countries such as Zimbabwe, Kenya and Zambia, led to the introduction of the NHS ‘Code of Practice’ on ethical recruitment in 2001 (Deeming, 2004), with calls for overseas recruitment to focus mainly on pre-existing agreements with countries such as the Philippines and India (Buchan, 2006).
  • Topic: Health, Health Care Policy, Brexit, Public Policy
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Asia
  • Author: Benjamin Barton
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham
  • Abstract: As China and President Xi Jinping signature foreign policy programme, the BRI has become in a very short space of the time one of the world’s largest and most active international infrastructure development drivers. The BRI is helping, in a significant manner, to meet the increasing demand for infrastructure development and upgrades in emerging markets – a trend that is unlikely to slow anytime time soon, especially given the initiative’s current importance to the Chinese government. For the British government (from here onwards ‘government’), although the UK is unlikely to be a prime destination for BRI projects (for now), the BRI stakes are high. Not only do BRI projects impact the economic wellbeing of a number of countries of strategic importance to the UK, but the government cannot remain passive in the emerging geopolitical context of infrastructure development and financing rivalry. In addition, in light of its relative post-Brexit geopolitical isolation, the government needs to adopt a firm and unequivocal political stance in dealing with its Chinese counterpart should the UK itself become the recipient of BRI projects.
  • Topic: Economics, Bilateral Relations, Geopolitics, Brexit, Multilateralism, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, United Kingdom, Asia