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Brexit and the Commonwealth

The UK officially leaves the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020.

Transition period

EU law still applies in the UK until the end of December 2020. Commonwealth trade will be unaffected during this transition period, while the UK and the EU negotiate their future trading relationship.

Post-Brexit trade

After Brexit there is an opportunity for trade growth between Commonwealth countries. The UK Government has said that increasing economic, political and other ties with Commonwealth member countries is an important priority. Our member countries are all committed to deepening trade integration in the Commonwealth as part of the Commonwealth’s prosperity agenda.

The Commonwealth Secretariat will monitor the negotiations between the UK and the EU to work out the implications for Commonwealth member countries. Our top priority is making sure that whatever happens between the UK and the EU, trade is uninterrupted for our most vulnerable member countries. The Commonwealth has been working with these countries to diversify their supply chains.

Commonwealth-European Union relations

The Commonwealth Secretariat and the European Commission have a long history of working together. We have been working jointly across Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific for over 10 years to support countries to negotiate trade agreements. Brexit will not affect this co-operation.

After Brexit Commonwealth members Malta and Cyprus will still be in the EU. Cyprus is the current chair of the Commonwealth governing board. Malta sits on the Commonwealth Troika, having hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2015. Malta is also the home of our Commonwealth Small State Centre of Excellence and the Commonwealth Trade Finance Facility.

Brexit reports and research

The Commonwealth Secretariat carried out research and reports on Brexit and the Commonwealth in 2016 and 2017.

Research on the Commonwealth and Brexit in the Commonwealth iLibrary

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Trade opportunities for Commonwealth post-Brexit

Commonwealth countries can do much more to expand trade links with the UK, post-Brexit. That’s the conclusion of trade experts at the Commonwealth Secretariat writing a new set of policy briefings on life after Britain’s decision to pull out of the European Union.

The Commonwealth logo on a large screen at a conference

Jury out on Brexit but calls for greater cooperation to undo de-risking

Central bank governors have been hearing about the risks Brexit and de-risking poses for Commonwealth countries. READ MORE >>

Chart showing key statistics on UK–Commonwealth trade in goods

Commonwealth to be ‘honest broker’ as member states move from ‘shock to solutions’ after UK vote to leave the EU

We are ready to support countries through tough post-Brexit trade negotiations, Secretary-General tells Commonwealth finance ministers. READ MORE >>

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Commonwealth finance ministers address Brexit, climate and banking

Finance ministers, central bank governors and the Secretary-General will be in the American capital this week to respond to the biggest financial challenges facing Commonwealth countries. READ MORE >>

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland in a one-to-one meeting

Secretary-General: We will help countries recover from the shock of Brexit

The Commonwealth will help its members recover from shock and adjust to the UK's decision to withdraw from the European Union. READ MORE >>

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Concern over Brexit in vulnerable Commonwealth states

Key industries in some Commonwealth nations could take massive hits if appropriate steps aren’t taken following the UK’s departure from the EU. READ MORE >>