Aligning the UK’s trade policy with its climate and environmental goals


Alongside fiscal and monetary responses to the COVID-19 crisis, trade will be an important element of global economic recovery

With its departure from the European Union, the UK has the opportunity to develop its own trade policy for the first time in forty years, enabled through the Trade Bill currently going through Parliament. This will have implications for the UK’s regulatory regime, the competitiveness of its industries, and crucially the country’s ability to meet its domestic climate and environmental targets.

This briefing, along with Aldersgate Group’s recent publication on COVID-19 economic recovery [1],argues that incorporating environmental and climate considerations at the heart of the UK’s trade policy is in its economic, social and environmental interests. It analyses the opportunities for growing UK exports of low carbon goods and services and, in this context, explores what a best practice trade policy should include. This briefing then sets out key policy recommendations to tackle some of the risks that could arise from new trade agreements, such as those relating to the UK’s right to regulate to deliver on its environmental goals and risks to the future competitiveness of its industries.

[1] Seize the moment: building a thriving, inclusive and resilient economy in the aftermath of COVID-19, Aldersgate Group Policy briefing June 2020