The Prime Minister penned a piece in the Telegraph which championed the Commonwealth and praised Brexit Britain for taking advantage of the opportunity to strengthen ties with old allies after leaving the European Union. The Commonwealth has played a leading role in 2022 and will continue to do so until the year comes to a close.
Many people in the 54 countries which are members of the Commonwealth marked the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier this month.
Commonwealth countries will come together yet again in little over a month’s time as athletes descend on England’s second city to contest the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
However, Mr Johnson, who became the Telegraph’s Eurosceptic-leaning Brussels correspondent in 1989, will also jet off to Rwanda this week to meet with Commonwealth leaders.
Linking the Commonwealth relationship with Britain’s departure from the EU, the Prime Minister wrote: “That is why we are mobilising the UK’s regained sovereignty to sign free trade or economic partnership agreements with as many Commonwealth countries as possible.
“So far we’ve done 33, including Australia and New Zealand, and we’re aiming for India, the biggest of them all, by Diwali in October.
“You only have to look at the sheer scale of economic expansion in many of the club’s biggest members to see why the Commonwealth trade advantage is going to become ever more important for British jobs and livelihoods.”
He added: “The Commonwealth’s GDP – $13.1 trillion – has risen by a quarter since 2017.
“Over the next five years, it’s forecast to jump by close to another 50 percent to $19.5 trillion.
“Here are the growing markets for British exports that will create jobs at home and, at the same time, ease the pressure on the cost of living.”
The Prime Minister’s comments came just days after the Brexit-backing Trade Minister Penny Mordaunt revealed the UK will soon enjoy a $2trillion (£1.65trillion) trade partnership with 27 Commonwealth countries.
The Portsmouth North MP, who has been tipped as a dark horse candidate in the eventual race to succeed Mr Johnson, unveiled the plan during international trade questions in the House of Commons.
However, critics of the UK’s departure from the Brussels bloc claim trade deals with antipodean allies are too small to make up for the drop in goods exported and imported from the EU.
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According to ONS data, UK goods exported to the EU in 2021 fell by £17.2billion and goods imported from the bloc faced a £46.5billion hit compared to 2019.
In comparison, goods exported outside the EU witnessed a £24.8billion drop and non-EU goods imported outstripped those from the bloc, with a £18.6billion increase over the same period.
However, the proportion of the UK’s total trade with the EU has been falling for some time.
Member states made up around 55 percent of total UK trade in 1999 but the figure was reduced to just 43 percent in 2021 after steadily declining for many years.