In the current Brexit decision process it’s clearly evident that Britain is exploring new business options , relationships with Commonwealth countries and strengthen its position as an exporter to these countries.
Remarks of Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary On the Commonwealth day are an indicator to this. He said: “This year’s theme of ‘A Peace-Building Commonwealth’ demonstrates the relevance of the network in tackling the shared challenges we face…
“I passionately believe in a Commonwealth with a strong and vibrant future. The Commonwealth’s next generation continues to inspire: they have the potential to drive change, innovate, and create an environment that improves the lives of people from Fiji to Malawi, Belize to Bangladesh, and beyond.
“Together we can prosper and deliver economic growth for all. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our partnership with the Commonwealth and to welcoming the Commonwealth family to the UK in 2018.”
At The Commonwealth Trade Summit, jointly convened by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) and the Commonwealth Secretariat, the focus was on a series of roundtables as an exchange of ideas between the member nations, while Friday 10th was meant for exclusive ministerial meetings. The two-day meetings brought businesses and politicians from around 35 Commonwealth member-states together and it is the first meeting of trade ministers from across the region in the past 12 years., reports Asian Voice.
India was represented by Commerce Secretary Ms Rita A Teaotia. She spoke of India’s focus on trade facilitation in services, which aims to ease the short-term movement of professionals and skilled workers, and efforts to help some less developed countries connect to the value chains.
In his speech the UK minister for international trade MP Liam Fox Minister highlighted that India was among the fastest growing import economies over the next five years. He explained: “According to the IMF, the Commonwealth countries whose imports of goods and services are likely to grow fastest over the next five years are Mozambique, Bangladesh, India, Brunei, Ghana and Sierra Leone…
“This represents not only a great opportunity for their citizens to share in the proceeds of global prosperity, but it represents tremendous opportunities to importers and exporters from across the whole Commonwealth, a genuinely win-win situation.”
Fox also highlighted an upcoming small and medium enterprise (SME) summit will be held in India next month.
Speaking about potentials of the Commonwealth countries, Baroness Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, reportedly said, “There is a huge opportunity because we represent about 2.4 billion people.”
According to a report in the Hindu, she said, “This was an incredibly important moment for us with all regions across the Commonwealth being represented. There is huge agreement across the board between national states about what we need to do to advance economies…but also what we need to do to advance trade, which is globally at its lowest level since the Second World War.”
One of the ideas being considered is that of a Commonwealth ambassador, who would be commissioned to determine practical ways in which intra-Commonwealth trade could be promoted, in an effort to raise it to around $1 trillion.
The role would lie within the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council, headed by Lord Marland, who also hopes that creation of a “Commonwealth Accord” is possible: a standard of rules, based on the shared experiences, rules and regulations in member-states, that could be subscribed to, which, he said, would give greater certainty and help SMEs looking to enter new markets in particular, adds Asian Voice report.
Following the discussion, speaking about India and its role, Baroness Scotland said, “India has been incredibly supportive, in particular, of our trade facility and has committed a considerable amount of resource to that trade-facilitation process concentrated on SMEs.”
On Commonwealth Day like every year, people gathered at the Memorial Gates in the Constitutional Hill to pay tribute to the Commonwealth soldiers. This year’s theme was The Battle of Saragarhi, which was fought before the Tirah Campaign on 12 September 1897 between British Indian Army and Afghan Orakzai tribesmen. It occurred in the North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan).
Speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Memorial Gates Council, Inderjeet Singh Nijhar said, “This year we also remember who served on the Western front. Here at the Memorial gate we wish to bring to life, memory of service and sacrifice for future generations through collaborations with the likes of the National Army Museum and others by delivering education projects…”
Army’s Warrant Officer, Ashok Chauhan MBE told Asian Voice , “This day is a reminder to thank those who gave their lives, so that we can have our wonderful lives.”
The ceremony was attended by President of Memorial Gates Council, Baroness Shreela Flather, Rt Hon Earl Howe from the Ministry of Defence, representatives of the British Army, Navy and Air Force, Met Police, representatives from the High Commission of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Burma Star Association, Punjab Force, Gurkha Brigade Association and the Brigade of Gurkha to name a few.
Harrow Council marked Commonwealth Day by taking part in the global flag raising ceremony. Mayor, Cllr Rekha Shah said: “Commonwealth Day is a great day to celebrate our differences and learn more about each other. We should all be proud of the fantastic examples we have set here in Harrow with people of all faiths, communities and backgrounds living together peacefully – that is through understanding and tolerance. Everyone can make a difference and I hope that we all continue to inspire future generations to pass on the message of unity and equality.”