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Free trade has lifted mankind to a level of wealth that was recently unimaginable. In 1990, 38 percent of human beings lived in extreme poverty; today, that figure has fallen to 8 per cent, as previously closed African and Asian economies have joined the global market.

Yet, paradoxically, free trade has never been so out of fashion. Across the world, idealistic people march against trade deals, protest G20 summits, occupy stock exchanges, sincerely believing that, in doing so, they are standing up for the poor against multinational corporations – when, in reality, they are doing the opposite.

Politicians naturally respond to public opinion. We are witnessing a trade war between the world’s largest and second-largest economies. The Uruguay Round, concluded in 1994, was the last successful comprehensive multilateral trade negotiation. Until CPTPP, the last major regional trade deals were ASEAN and NAFTA, agreed in the early 1990s.

We need to recapture the moral case for open commerce. Free trade is not simply a way to buy cheaper iPhones. It is the ultimate instrument of poverty alleviation, conflict resolution and social justice.

IFT seeks to recapture the intellectual and moral case for free trade, and to change government policy toward revitalising the global economy. We pursue this through three dedicated work streams:


EDUCATE CIVIL SOCIETY

No one is born a free trader. We will use videos and online resources to explain the concepts of free trade in a way designed to appeal to sceptics – which is to say, to almost everyone. We also contribute to teaching University modules in economics, and host an in-house Summer School for future leaders.


CONVINCE BUSINESS

We will reach out to businesses and interest groups around the world, particularly in developing countries. We will bring them together to look at specific ways in which eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers will lead to general prosperity. We will publish country-by-country and sector-by-sector studies showing how FTAs will benefit participating economies.


CHANGE POLICY

We will use our extensive networks within governments to promote new trade agreements and to make sure that they focus on mutual recognition rather than standardisation – in other words, that they benefit consumers rather than producers. We will work closely with, though independently of, the UK’s Department for International Trade, with a focus on facilitating economic diplomacy internationally, and unilateral liberalisation at home too.

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The Entrepreneurs Network

@TenThinkTank 2 days ago

New Report: Fixing Copyright explains how the UK can develop a world-leading copyright system to promote innovatio… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Julian Jessop

@julianHjessop 10 hours ago

Some are welcoming the fact that the UK ran a rare trade surplus in the 12 months to November 2020, but this really… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Simon Lester

@snlester 3 days ago

Good response from @FreeTradeBryan to the Global Trade Watch paper on trade policy and ethnicity/race, with lots of… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Raoul Ruparel

@RaoulRuparel 2 days ago

@nathansldennis But in same breath you've just said you have to align to get equivalence & then that they're not th… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Raoul Ruparel

@RaoulRuparel 2 days ago

This is not correct. NZ veterinary agreement doesn't require any particular alignment. Legitimate for EU to say it… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Tom Pengelly

@pengelly_tom 2 days ago

Great to see this engagement happening, particularly as UK’s new trade preferences system went live this month. As… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

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