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  • Author: Katarina Schwarz, Todd Landman, Katrina Peake
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham
  • Abstract: How can the UK best protect human rights in Asia, an area historically weak in protecting and promoting human rights, when it comes to securing new trade deals after exiting the European Union (EU)? This policy brief assesses potential pathways for the UK to protect human rights in Asia through trade after exiting the EU, accounting for the specific challenges of advancing human rights in the region. It draws on existing practice, with a focus on the EU, to make suggestions for future UK trade policy through both unilateral and bilateral arrangements.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Bilateral Relations, European Union, Brexit, Trade, Trade Policy
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Asia
  • 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: Benjamin Barton
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham
  • Abstract: As China’s President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy programme, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has become one of the world’s most active infrastructure development drivers. The BRI is helping to meet the increasing demand for infrastructure development in emerging markets across the world. This policy is unlikely to change due to the importance that the Chinese government attributes to the BRI, with it now being formally enshrined into the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) constitution. For the UK, the BRI stakes are high; it matters both domestically and internationally. It is impacting the wellbeing of countries that are of strategic importance to the UK. It also contributes to the emerging geopolitical rivalry on infrastructure financing. The government should explore bilateral and multilateral venues to seek to cooperate with China on the BRI by developing a UK BRI strategy post-Brexit.
  • Topic: Development, Bilateral Relations, Infrastructure, Geopolitics, Brexit, Multilateralism, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Britain, China, 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