The head of the UK’s leading foreign policy think tank has said Brexit Britain should aim to be a global broker on key international issues if it is to take full advantage of its withdrawal from the European Union.
In a recent report, Chatham House Director General Robin Niblett identified six major international goals in which the United Kingdom ‘could leverage its unique combination of diplomatic reach, diverse security capabilities and prominence in international development’.
Britain ‘should use these assets to link together liberal democracies and, where possible, engage alongside them with other countries that are willing to address international challenges constructively’, Niblett added.
Among the six international goals is a recommendation to prioritise a deepening of relations with nations in the Asia-Pacific region due to their growing economic significance and exposure to shared challenges such as climate change, global healthcare resilience and equitable economic growth.
Beyond enhancing diplomatic engagement in major forums such as the G7,G20 and COP26, the agreement of new trade treaties is also emerging as a general metric of success in monitoring expanded UK cooperation with nations in the Asia-Pacific region.
While accession to the CPTPP remains an ultimate objective, the UK has so far agreed to roll over its trade agreements with Singapore, Japan and South Korea, securing continued terms on £45bn of bilateral trade volumes, with further talks underway to expand the scope of the agreement to cover services and the digital economy.
Furthermore, trade negotiations with Australia are at an advanced stage after 46 rounds of discussions were completed in December 2020. Likely to be agreed later this year, the UK-Australia deal would be among the first UK trade agreements reached with another nation where no previous bilateral agreement was in place.
It is also possible that a US-UK deal could be reached sooner if the incoming Biden Administration finds longstanding obstacles remain in reaching a US-EU deal that plagued TTIP negotiations for over a decade.