UK to use foreign aid budget to bolster trade deals: Report

PTI London | Updated on January 18, 2018 Published on July 31, 2016

Britain is planning to use its 11 billion pound aid budget to bolster trade deals with countries in a post-Brexit push, according to a media report.

Britain’s newly-appointed Indian-origin minister for international development, Priti Patel, will be leading this policy initiative, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

“Britain’s international aid commitments mean it gets fantastic access to foreign leaders all round the world. We can leverage existing relationships to strike trade deals.

The Department for International Development (DFID) can be used to improve Britain’s standing in the world. It will be a completely fresh way of looking at Britain’s aid budget,” the newspaper quoted a political source as saying.

Patel has reportedly already held meetings with Liam Fox, the new UK International Trade Secretary, to discuss how they can use Britain’s foreign aid budget to bolster trade deals.

Britain is committed to spend around 0.7 per cent of GDP on foreign aid but India had ceased to be a recipient country in December 2015, when the India-UK aid relationship was modified into one of project-based “technical assistance’’.

“Successfully leaving the European Union will require a more outward-looking Britain than ever before, deepening our international partnerships to secure our place in the world by supporting economic prosperity, stability and security overseas.

“That’s why my department will be working across government, with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the new Department for International Trade, the Home Office and others,” Patel had said in her statement when she took charge of her new portfolio earlier this month.

She had been among the leading voices campaiging for Britain to leave the EU in the June 23 referendum.

“We will continue to tackle the great challenges of our time: poverty, disease and the causes of mass migration, while helping to create millions of jobs in countries across the developing world — our trading partners of the future,” she said.

Published on July 31, 2016
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