Trade and the Commonwealth: developing countries examined

06 June 2018

The International Trade Committee takes evidence from textile-industry representatives, and development organisations, in the latest session of its Trade and the Commonwealth: developing countries inquiry.


Wednesday 6 June, Committee Room 16, Palace of Westminster

At 9.45am

  • William Bain, British Retail Consortium
  • Daryl Jopling, Head of Risk, Debenhams
  • Ashok Kallumpram, Premier Textiles Ltd

At 10.45am

  • Thao Hoang Phuong, County Director, Action Aid Vietnam
  • Marion Sharples, Policy and Communications Officer, Gender and Development Network
  • Arif Zaman, Executive Director, Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network and Deputy Director, Centre for Research and Enterprise, London School of Business and Management

Purpose of the session

The session examines the interests of businesses importing textiles from developing countries, as well as the relationship between gender and trade.

Textiles imports

The Government has stated that in 2015 the UK imported £7.8m in textiles from developing countries, accounting for 45% of all UK apparel and textiles imports. This makes the UK the EU’s second largest importer of textiles from developing countries.

Generalised Scheme of Preferences

Trade between the UK and developing countries is organised under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences, where different levels of access are granted depending on the socio-economic status of the country concerned. The Government has said that it will seek to replicate current access levels as part of rolling over the EU’s current Free Trade Agreements.

First session

In this session, the Committee seeks the views of the textiles industry on the UK’s future trade policy, as well as issues relating to rules of origin (criteria needed to determine the national source of a product), support from the Departments of International Trade and Development, and the effects of trade on developing countries.

Second session

The Committee will also examine the relationship between gender and trade, following the recent World Trade Organization Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires, which saw the publication of a joint Declaration on Trade and Economic Empowerment.

The Committee will hear from Action Aid Vietnam, the Gender and Development Network, and the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network about current gender and trade initiatives, the impact of trade on women, and harnessing existing networks to improve trade between the UK and Commonwealth countries.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto


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