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Trade policy

As trade is of immense importance to developing countries and to the UK alike, the Government brings trade policy and development policy together in the DFID/BIS Trade Policy Unit (TPU).

Container cargo ships in dock

Trade White Paper

This Government recognise the importance of trade and investment to delivering long term growth and prosperity in the UK and around the world. We are working on an ambitious and comprehensive trade and investment strategy for the UK which will set out how the UK can make the most of international opportunities. This strategy will be set out in a White Paper which is due to be published in February 2011.

We welcome the views of the public to inform the development of the strategy – to highlight issues and areas where the Government could play a more effective role, and to share your ideas for the global trading system. 

To contribute to this call for evidence please visit

The aim of the UK Trade Policy Unit (TPU), which brings together trade and development policy experts from BIS and the Department for International Development (DFID), is global prosperity and security through open and fair markets.

Simply preserving current levels of openness is a significant challenge, given increased pressure to resort to protectionism. Our priorities in the economic crisis, therefore, are to help keep markets open, to help UK business overcome barriers to trade and prepare for the upturn, and to ensure trade continues to contribute to sustainable development and poverty-reduction, consistent with our longer-term trade strategy.

UK business does not operate in a vacuum. In the longer term, the greatest benefits from trade result from the openness of all which is best achieved if all share in the benefits.

The evidence in support of open and fair markets still stands. A 10 percentage point increase in trade openness translates into 4% increase in per capita income. Growth accounts for approximately 80% of poverty reduction which has lifted 500 million people over the poverty line over the past 15 years.

For expert advice and support for UK based companies wishing to grow their business overseas and for international companies wishing to establish or expand their business in the UK please visit the UK Trade & Investment website. For practical advice for companies on International Trade please visit the Business Link website. Both can be accessed via the related links on the right of this page.