Reducing barriers to international free trade


Not all trade markets in the world are entirely open to UK business.

Some countries set import restrictions or impose conditions which make life difficult for UK firms.


We deal with trade barriers by either talking directly to the country which has put up a barrier, or by talking to them via the EU (in some cases we do both).

The UK is taking part in the negotiation of international trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and US. Through our membership of the EU, we’ve signed a free trade agreement with South Korea. This will make it easier for British companies to do business there.

We’ve set up the UK Single Market Centre to deal with the occasional problems UK companies can have trading in some EU member states.

The government continues to make sure that agreements about international trade are good for poorer countries.

For example, through the Aid for Trade fund and other ‘trade and development’ projects, we’re contributing to projects that will make it easier for developing countries to do business with other nations.


We set out our strategy on trade and investment in the white paper, ‘Trade and investment for growth’, published in February 2011.

The white paper sets 3 goals:

  • to create opportunities for UK business to trade and invest overseas
  • to attract investment to the UK
  • to strengthen international trading links and help developing countries benefit from trade and investment

We believe aiming to achieve these goals should increase international opportunities for British trade.

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