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The UK is in an influential and important position to influence development outcomes across the world. It remains the only country to meet both the targets to spend 0.7 percent of its national income on overseas aid and 2 percent on defence. It is also the largest “multilateral” aid donor—providing over a third more in aid through the multilateral system than the United States.
The UK has taken up several ideas developed or supported by CGD fellows. Recently, this includes the use of disaster risk insurance and cash transfers in humanitarian relief; committing to an improved trade for development regime after Brexit; pushing for humanitarian reform; using the CDI to assess policy coherence; and using development impact bonds and advanced market commitments.
This paper looks at how the UK can, after Brexit, develop a world-leading trade for development policy. It uses a systematic assessment of how rich country trade policies affect developing countries to identify the leading approaches used elsewhere. It then identifies and describes four key steps: i) eliminating or lowering tariffs; ii) improving preferential access for the very poorest countries; iii) cutting red tape at the border; and iv) enhancing the effectiveness of its aid for trade. These steps would enable the UK to improve substantially on the approach taken by the EU and other countries, benefit UK consumers and businesses, and set a new standard in trade policy for development.
While the UK negotiates its exit from the EU, the EU will be negotiating over its own budget for the period from 2020-2026 as part of the Multi-Annual Financial Framework. So, where will EU development aid be a quarter of the way through the 21st century?
The possibility of leaving the EU means that the UK now needs to revisit the questions of whether and for which countries to offer trade preferences, particularly since the key ‘enabling clause’ underpinning trade preferences does not confine preferences to least developed countries (LDCs). Let's explore the options.
There are two good reasons to harness the market power of iconic brands. First, policymakers and researchers with evidence-based arguments on migration are struggling to combat the hateful rhetoric of the tabloids. Second, the private sector has an important role to play in ensuring global economic prosperity. Among other things, it should use its power to fight the misinformation, ignorance, and hate directed towards the world’s most vulnerable people.
Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has assured people that post-Brexit labour policy will be about the “cream of the crop,” making sure that high-skilled workers won’t face excessive red tape or heavy-handed visa rules if they want to work in the UK. The “migration problem,” in Hammond’s words, is not with “computer professors, brain surgeons, or senior managers.” A migration policy built on that creaky premise misses at least three key points: gains from trade, mutual productivity, and huge welfare gains.
If the UK leaves the EU (as unfortunately seems most likely), the single market, and customs union, it will need to decide on a new schedule of tariffs for imported goods from both Europe and other countries. One of the options being touted is the unilateral removal of tariffs on all goods, as Hong Kong and Singapore do. There are three main possible objections to this approach based on UK interests, and one for developing countries, none of which are entirely convincing.
The EU faces a substantial drop in its development resources following Brexit. Still, the amount will depend on how “hard” that exit is, and the UK’s ongoing involvement in voluntary EU-level arrangements. Here we assess the potential size of the Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) funding drop that EU institutions could face.