The Week in Trade: Labour reshuffles, a pair of anniversaries and pre-G20 maneuvers

Fri 8 Sept 2023
Posted by: Danielle Keen
Trade News
Newspapers with coffee

As parliament reopens, Labour re-shuffles and G20 speculation ramps up, let’s begin with some exciting IOE&IT news.

We kicked off the new parliamentary session with the launch of our policy paper, Global horizons: Realising the services export potential of UK nations and regions, which explores regional differences in services exports across the UK and what can be done to support underperforming regions.

The big picture: The G20 summit this weekend has lost a bit of its shine already after Chinese president Xi Jingping announce he wouldn’t be attending. The Independent offered a thorough dissection of why Jinping abstained; from border skirmishes, a rejection of India’s cooperation with the West, to the fallout from China’s attempt to literally redraw the map in Beijing’s favour this week.

President Biden wasted no time attempting to woo India and ASEAN nations, offering a US$200bn IMF and World Bank funding bump as a soft rival to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

The on-again off-again UK-India trade deal appears to be firmly ‘on’ again.

Good week/bad week: Blairites got a good showing at Sir Keir’s cabinet reshuffle on Monday, now leading the party in advance of next year’s probable election. Pat McFaddon, a Blairite by era as well as ideology, became shadow Cabinet Office minister. Liz Kendall, not heard from since her leadership election defeat to Jeremy Corbyn in 2015, will take over as shadow work and pensions secretary.

The cabinet additions were completed with the junior positions announced later in the week. Among the moves, Nia Griffith, Mike Kane and Tulip Saddiq were all re-appointed to shadow exports, maritime and aviation, and City of London, while Rushanara Ali and Tan Dhesi got promoted to the economy and exchequer roles.

How’s stat? Bloomberg downgraded China’s economic trajectory following its recent slowdown. Once tipped to become the world’s largest economy by 2050, Bloomberg Economics predicted sluggish growth of 2.5% in 2030 and 1% near to 2050, which will see China overtake the US briefly, then fall behind as its economy loses steam.

I’d suggest banning a few other US products as a strategy to secure pole position.

The week in customs: In a dramatic diversion from border bureaucracy, Euronews reports that passengers from Heathrow to the Port of Dover face delays from additional security checks, as the hunt for escaped terror suspect Daniel Abed Khalife continues.

Dover has also been in the news this week as officials have tabled a novel way of tackling lengthy post-Brexit queues – dredging the land to make more space for checks.

Quote of the week: “Xi may well be trying to throw shade at Modi, but he’s the one who’ll be out of the spotlight. The G20 is much bigger than any one member."

Jonah Blank, RAND senior political scientist, giving us that G20 T.

Major milestones: It’s been a week chock-full of big anniversaries. Queen Elizabeth passed away a year ago today, having led the country for seventy plus years, a symbol of comfort and stability to many. The also had the anniversary of the appointment of her last prime minister, Liz Truss, who wouldn’t quite have the same legacy of stability.

Elsewhere, China’s BRI turned ten. After a decade of road and relationship-building, a slew of debt-trap accusations and up to US$8tr in investment, where is the project at now?

What else we covered this week: We welcomed a new member of the content team this week! Content editor Benjamin Roche joined us and has hit the ground running, covering our Electronics Trade Documents Act (ETDA) webinar held yesterday (7 September).

Executive editor, William Barns-Graham, offered a demystifying look at the ETDA, the first in a series designed to get you up to speed ahead of 20 September’s implementation date. He also spoke to IOE&IT vice chair Marcel Landau about the charitable work of the IOE Foundation.

Content editor, Phillip Adnett, rounded up the week’s shipping news, including a Black Sea Grain Initiative updates, the impact of Gabon’s coup and the extravagant cost of Panama Canal shipping slots.

True facts: International charity day, which we celebrated this week with a peek into the IOE&IT’s charitable activities, commemorates Mother Teresa. 5 September marks 26 years since the saint’s death.