International trade is of critical importance to the UK. However, indifference to where things are made and by whom has contributed to the decline of our industrial base, the loss of manufacturing employment, large trade deficits and to increased inequality. A massive trade deficit is neither inevitable nor in the UK’s long-term interest and we aim to re-balance it.
- The UK will participate in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and will energetically pursue an expansion of bilateral trade deals with willing partners where it serves the national interest.
- A central structural target of international trade policy will be a reduction in the UK’s trade deficit. Progress and policies will be assessed and adjusted annually.
- Trade and tariff policy will be used to protect companies in strategically important sectors and to shelter companies exploring emerging sectors and technologies. Trade policy will be coordinated with our Industrial Policy with the aim of reshoring industrial production in certain sectors.
- Government, as the UK’s largest single domestic purchaser shall, whenever possible within WTO rules, adopt a ‘Buy British’ policy.
- Our Environmental policies will support increased domestic production to minimise over-extended global supply lines and support environmental sustainability.
- Tax-advantaged Free Ports will be established with a focus on manufacture for export. As with Special Economic Zones (SPZs), these will be allowed only if proposals win local democratic approval.