The Week Ahead in International Trade: UK-EU relationship reviewed, Taiwan inauguration and stats update

Mon 20 May 2024
Posted by: Benjamin Roche

A raft of political debates lead this week’s trade news, with words from foreign secretary Lord David Cameron on the relationship with the EU, a Business and Trade Committee meeting on UK industrial strategy and a Lords’ debate on the prime minister’s trade envoys.

Elsewhere, monetary policy will be under consideration as major figures from UK and US central banks deliver speeches and the ONS publishes inflation data. There is also the next in the Institute of Export & International Trade’s (IOE&IT) Lunchtime Learning member-exclusive webinar series on Thursday, looking at reporting and auditing supply chains. You can sign up for that one here.


Lord Cameron speaks to the European Scrutiny Committee on the UK’s relationship with the EU today (20 May). He remarked to the committee at the end of 2023 that it is “now a lot more functional, and I think it’s functioning well”. Also featuring is Olaf Henricson-Bell, director of EU relations at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

The Windsor Framework is likely to come under discussion, as are UK border provisions including the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM). It comes as Politico reports that the EU is likely to demand that the UK accepts European Court of Justice (EJC) oversight should Labour win the next general election and seek a new sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) agreement with the bloc.

The Business and Trade Committee also meets tomorrow, again discussing UK industrial policy, particularly on economic security and the country’s unique advantages. Bosch and Orsted are among the witnesses.

The House of Lords hosts a debate on the role of the prime minister’s trade envoys on Thursday. It follows today’s IOE&IT interview with Baroness Nicholson, trade envoy for Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

Taiwan it that way

The next milestone in this year’s bumper year for elections is the inauguration of Lai Ching-te as Taiwanese president today. He has marked the occasion by making an explicit appeal to China to “stop its verbal attacks and military intimidation”. He also suggested China should work cooperatively with Taiwan on tourism and student exchanges, according to the FT.

There are speeches elsewhere to start the week from US Federal Reserve governor Christopher Waller, as well as Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent. In other monetary policy news, China will this week announce its loan prime rate and monetary policy committees will convene in Indonesia and Turkey, as well as South Korea – which will also host the next AI safety summit this week, following last year’s inaugural summit in the UK.


Talk of a cut to the UK’s interest rate could increase in volume come Wednesday, when the ONS will publish inflation data for the month of April. The FT noted today that the UK inflation rate is likely to slow more rapidly than that of the US or EU, owing to falls in energy prices. These issues will stay in focus when the IMF publishes its Article IV consultation on the UK economy this week.

A raft of other reports and stats this week look at trade, not least that of the National Audit Office on the costs of the introduction of the Border Target Operating Model (BTOM), out today. There are also quarterly GDP stats from the OECD on Thursday.

The EU will release its foreign trade statistics tomorrow. The bloc’s trade has been marked by disputes and investigations over Chinese imports in recent weeks – earlier this month, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said that “we will defend our companies; we will defend our economies” after suggestions that China’s industries were undercutting European counterparts through government subsidies and other alleged unfair practices.

Other dates for the diary

Monday: Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) foreign ministers meet in Astana, Kazakhstan

Tuesday: Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey delivers LSE lecture

Wednesday: World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Global Climate Update

Thursday: G7 finance minister meeting in Italy

Friday: Germany and Nigeria publish Q1 GDP

Saturday: Africa Day

Sunday: Emmanuel Macron makes state visit to Germany