Sunak enters Number 10 – five stances the new PM has had on international trade

Mon 24 Oct 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett

Rishi Sunak new PM international trade

Rishi Sunak will soon ascend to the office of prime minister, becoming the third UK leader in just two months.

During his time as chancellor and in his previous leadership bid over the summer Sunak made a number of pledges on matters affecting international trade.

The IOE&IT Daily Update here looks back at five of his major trade policy stances.


According to the Evening Standard, Sunak has been an advocate of freeports since he was a backbench MP.

As chancellor he introduced the initiative, launching an initial eight freeports in England. During a visit to the site of the Teesside freeport in July he re-committed to the strategy.

The locations of the Scottish and Welsh freeports are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Trade deals

In a televised leadership debate during the summer, Sunak criticised the Australia and New Zealand trade deals which were largely negotiated under his predecessor Truss’ watch when she was international trade secretary.

He said the agreements were “one sided” adding that the UK “shouldn’t be rushing to sign trade deals as quickly as possible”.

The Richmond MP stated that he would not renegotiate the agreements because it would be wrong to rip up an international treaty.

NI Protocol

He also said that he would seek to reopen negotiations with the EU to “fix” the Northern Ireland Protocol.

As chancellor, Sunak said that the Protocol was posing enormous challenges to "the stability of the situation" in Northern Ireland, according to the BBC.

He did stress, however, that his preference was a “a negotiated settlement.”

EU rules

Another commitment was his pledge to review, replace or reform the 2,400 EU laws that were transferred into the UK statute book following Brexit, stating that this will take place before the next general election.

Reuters reports that Sunak will set up a new governmental unit to review these EU regulations.

Animal rights

Sunak has previously shown himself to be a supporter of animal rights, having committed to ban live animal exports as well as imports of hunting trophies.

He has previously backed the Kept Animals Bill which sought to ban live exports for slaughter and fattening, while outlawing keeping primates as pets.