ECR Party

The Great Lakes Trade Summit: Transforming Trade in a Post-Brexit World

The Great Lakes Trade Summit will be taking place this Friday (14th July) at The Speke Resort Munyonyo, Kampala.

The summit, which will bring together voices from government, business and academia, will explore the opportunities for greater trade between Europe and East Africa in a post-Brexit world.

We are pleased to confirm that our distinguished selection of speakers will include the Rt. Hon. Rory Stewart, UK Minister for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs, and International Development; Hon. Evelyn Anite, Uganda's Minister of State for Finance and Albert Saltson, CEO of Standard Chartered Uganda.

Our President, Jan Zahradil MEP, has set out ACRE’s vision for the future of European – East African Trade ahead of Friday’s Summit:

‘It is my pleasure to host the Great Lakes Trade Summit: an international gathering of Ministers, politicians, businesses and academics seeking to boost greater trade and investment between Europe and East Africa.

Following the momentous Brexit vote, a number of questions remain outstanding regarding the future of Europe’s trading relationships. This conference will seek to explore some of the implications of this move, particularly for East Africa.

Representing a family of over 30 centre-right member parties, the Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE) recognises that the world is increasingly hit by protectionist trade policies that have often stunted the ability of third countries to compete.

For decades, even the European Union has been raising barriers to entry and subsidised its own sectors, thereby skewing the market at a cost to European consumers, and to East African businesses seeking to compete. However, in recent years we have witnessed some positive changes in Europe: more openess, more need for FTAs with overseas countries, and a greater understanding of the importance of global trade. This must continue.

Following the Brexit vote, we believe that the time is ripe for reform. We believe in a European trade policy that advances global free trade with confidence and that – rather than politicizing trade relations with conditionalities – defends the power of open markets to alleviate poverty, resolve conflicts and deliver social justice.

I am confident that our summit will contribute to all these goals.’

Liam Fox, the UK Secretary of State for International Trade, has also outlined his support for the Great Lakes Trade Summit and the opportunities to boost trade between Britain and the East African Community after Brexit.

In his message of support, the Trade Secretary states that, ‘those who believe that the referendum was a sign of Britain looking inwards are completely wrong – it is the beginning of Britain increasing its global engagement.

The formal negotiations have now begun and Britain is leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe and we are ready to take our place in an open, liberal and competitive globalised trading environment.

As we regain an autonomous trade policy and as a newly independent WTO member, the UK will lead the charge for global free trade. We will corral coalitions of the willing who share a belief that a more open and free trading world is the one which will provide the brightest economic future for our citizens.

The East African Community is one of the regions where Britain has the greatest opportunity to forge new trading relationships. The British government has committed to maintaining duty-free access to our markets for Least Developed Countries after Brexit and will seek to expand trade further. Our departure from the EU is an opportunity to increase our commitments to the rest of the world, not shy away from them. We recognise that free trade has been the greatest liberator of the world's poor, helping developing countries grow their economies and raise living standards.

I hope this summit marks the beginning of a deeper economic partnership between the UK and the countries of the EAC. Both business and government have a critical role to play in shaping this future relationship, built upon the principles of free trade, open markets and friendly collaboration. It is an opportunity where success will deliver increased prosperity and security for all our citizens.’

For further information, and to register please find the online form here: http://www.conservativesinternational.org/kampala2017