ICC Solutions' optimism justified as Truss speech "outlines bold new era for trade”
Firms such as Cheshire's ICC Solutions who have looked upon the UK’s post-Brexit trade prospects with optimism have been boosted by the ambitions outlined in international trade secretary Liz Truss’ speech to the World Trade Organisation General Council earlier in March.
Truss was speaking as the first international trade secretary to address the council since UK withdrawal from the EU.
Truss said in her speech: “The UK has now, following its exit from the EU, resumed its independent membership of the World Trade Organization, taking back control of our trade policy, our sovereignty, and our future.
“The UK is and always will be, an open, liberal, outward looking nation. Our vision is of a newly independent UK, championing the cause of free, fair, rules-based trade.”
Truss’ vision will provide great encouragement for ICC Solutions co-founder and director, David Maisey, who told The Parliamentary Review that he saw Brexit as an ideal opportunity to forge closer ties with other Commonwealth nations, which tied into work that the firm was undertaking.
Maisey said: "We believe [Brexit] is also accompanied by many great opportunities, not least an enhanced ability to forge closer links with the Commonwealth.
“This is particularly useful given the growth that many of these countries are experiencing, and – in particular – given the move India is making from cash to plastic transactions, which is something of particular interest to [ICC Solutions]."
Referring to the UK’s previous track record in promoting international trade during her speech to the WTO Council, Truss said: “I am proud of the UK’s record in pioneering, firstly, the liberalisation of agricultural tariffs with the abolition of the Corn Laws, and secondly, industrial tariffs with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade [GATT].”
Moving to address what the UK government hopes will come of Brexit, Truss told the council: “Now that the UK has left the European Union I know some of you are wondering what sort of member we are going to be.
“First, the UK wants to turn the rise in protectionist measures around. We are at heart a free trading nation and we see the WTO as central to this vision.
“We know human ingenuity has limitless potential. The more we allow people to shape their own lives, remove barriers to enterprise within and between nations, and allow human ingenuity to flourish, the more rewards we will all reap.
“The greatest economic advances from steam engine to the internet, have resulted from increasing international trade and connectedness, the ideas chain reaction.
“So we will work with all nations that share this multilateral vision, to lead the defence of free, fair, rules-based international trade, pioneering a route to prosperity that lies through working together, not protectionism. That is why the MC12 [the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference] in June is so important."
Not only did Truss outline that the UK hopes to be at the forefront of the 21st century global economy as an independent, free-trading nation, but also that it hopes to be at the heart of reform to the WTO in future.
Truss said: “We will work to make sure that rules-based system is based on open, market orientated policies and is transparent and fair. When it works, the multilateral system allows us to deliver outcomes that are better in aggregate for all of us.
“As we retake our independent seat at the heart of the world trading system, the UK is more committed than ever to ensuring that, the WTO, is forward looking, modernised and reformed.
“[We want] a UK that explores the new frontiers of the 21st century global economy, pushing for that same liberalisation in trade in services and data, helping to turn around recent protectionist trends and to help deliver the benefits of the global digital revolution for all members, large or small.
“To push for a WTO that not only retrains its role as the repository of the rules that govern our global economy, but one that does so while continuing to enjoy the confidence of all Members.”