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Secretary-General Scotland: The Commonwealth is open for business

19 September 2016

Secretary-General Patricia Scotland last week urged UK companies to seize fresh opportunities to do business within the Commonwealth.

In a message to the North East England Chamber of Commerce, she said: “The UK has long played a leading role in promoting trade-led economic development worldwide. In the post-Brexit era there are fresh opportunities to build on this valuable global contribution through the Commonwealth.

“Businesses in North East England are well placed to build on the goodwill and sense of affinity that are such distinctive features of our global family by exploring new trade and investment opportunities with Commonwealth counterparts.”

The issue of post-Brexit trade between Commonwealth members will top the agenda when Central Bank Governors meet in Washington next month, before the annual Commonwealth Finance Ministers Meeting. According to Commonwealth research, it is 19 per cent cheaper for countries within the 53-member intergovernmental organisation to trade with one another.

Yesterday the Secretary-General spoke to Sky News about supporting Commonwealth countries to recover from shock and adjust to the UK's decision to withdraw from the European Union. This followed a pledge to “turbo-charge” efforts to increase trade advantages for its 53 member countries, made to the International Relations Committee of the House of Lords in July.

In her statement to the North East England Chamber of Commerce, she encouraged all members “to seize the many opportunities there are for working more closely and cooperatively in partnerships for growth and prosperity through Commonwealth networks and organisations.”

She added: “Together, we can put the ‘common’ into ‘wealth’, and the ‘wealth’ into the Commonwealth for the benefit of all our 2.3 billion citizens – including those who live and work in North East England.”