The UK government is increasing efforts to strengthen its political and economic alliances outside of the EU as Brexit negotiations reach their latest phase
The UK government is increasing efforts to strengthen its political and economic alliances outside of the EU as Brexit negotiations reach their latest phase.
The Commonwealth of Nations contains many potential alternative partners, as member states share a common institutional heritage, historic links and English as a common language.
As host of the next Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in April, 2018, the UK may use the summit to re-negotiate trust and policies in international trade within the network.
Its 52 members comprise a third of the total global population, with India accounting for 55% of the 2.3 billion population and 26% of its internal trade.
Discussions between Prime Minister Modi and Prince Charles in October 2017 hinted at the Commonwealth super-nation taking on a more prominent, active role in the grouping.
Prime Minister Modi is expected to attend the 2018 CHOGM, having missed the 2015 summit and with his predecessor, Manmohan Singh, absent from the previous two in 2013 and 2011.
Since the disenfranchisement of the British Empire and the formation of the Commonwealth of Nations, it has projected itself as a global force for good, championing trade, the rule of law and infrastructure development with former empirical territories.
Members have particularly benefitted from preferential trade ties.
Links fractured, however, when the UK turned to join the European Economic Community in 1973, which later became the EU.
Britain’s economic ties to Commonwealth members were reduced and these nations forged closer links to neighbouring countries instead.
Following the break from the EU in 2019, Britain will need to re-prioritise non-EU trade and rebuild Commonwealth links.
Read More: UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said establishing free trade deals with fellow Commonwealth countries following Brexit will not detract from plans to strike a similar deal with the European Union