Advancing Human Rights in Asia through Trade after Brexit: Background Report

Katarina Schwarz, Todd Landman, Katrina Peake
Content Type
Special Report
Asia Research Institute, University of Nottingham
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.
Human Rights, Bilateral Relations, Brexit, Trade, Trade Policy
Political Geography
United Kingdom, Asia