DIT launches 'two-way trade' promotional campaign to reach all countries in the Commonwealth

Fri 29 Jul 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett, Noelle McElhatton
Trade News

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has launched a new promotional campaign targeting all 55 other Commonwealth states and aiming to stimulate demand for British businesses.

The initiative, announced to coincide with the start of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (28 July), is believed to be the first of its kind for a DIT trade campaign as it is designed to reach each country in the Commonwealth from New Zealand to the Maldives – according to a DIT press release.

‘Turbocharge trade’

"With Commonwealth GDP forecast to jump by nearly 40 per cent over the next five years, we have a massive opportunity to turbocharge trade with Commonwealth countries," said international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

The campaign will appear in larger media outlets, such as the Canadian Globe and Mail, the New Zealand Herald and The Gleaner of Jamaica, as well as featuring in the Togo Presse, the Vanuatu Business Review, and The Mihaaru of the Maldives.

‘Flagship’ campaign

Trevelyan commented: "This exciting campaign, reaching out to some nations for the first time, will raise awareness of the exciting opportunities to boost two-way trade, drive business and economic growth and support local communities."

The Commonwealth campaign follows the government’s flagship trade and investment ‘Great’ campaign, first launched in 2011 and refreshed in 2021, to market the UK to 145 countries around the world.

Truss: New deal for Commonwealth

The DIT’s announcement comes as Tory leadership contender and trade secretary Liz Truss has announced she will seek more Commonwealth trade ties if she becomes the next Conservative Party leader and prime minister.

In an article in The Times, Truss promised to pursue “a Commonwealth New Deal” to strengthen the UK’s relationship with the other 55 states and to “harness our full potential as natural trading partners.”

Supply chain and imports

The move, framed partly as a way to counter China’s belt-and-road infrastructure initiative, would expedite bilateral trade agreements with Commonwealth partners, reports The Independent.

In the announcement, Truss stated part of this plan would include strengthening the UK’s “critical supply chain resilience” as well as “reducing our collective dependency for key imports such as energy and technology on any one country”.

Commonwealth trade

The Commonwealth features some of the fastest growing economies in the world, including India, Bangladesh and Rwanda, and accounts for a seventh of global wealth, according to The Telegraph.

As reported previously by the Daily Update bulletin, British exports to the Commonwealth hit a 15-year high in April of this year, with prime minister Boris Johnson calling the association of countries a “miracle fertiliser” for business.

Campaign marches on

According to Sky News, Truss’ pledge has marked a shift in the Tory leadership campaign, moving away from the issue of tax cuts, which has so-far dominated the debate.

Fellow leadership contender and former chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak is scheduled to face questioning by Andrew Neil at 7.30pm tonight (28 July) on Channel 4.