Post-Brexit: The future of UK trade and investment with China and Africa

On Tuesday 8 October, the University’s Marylebone Campus welcomed two internationally renowned speakers, Dr Dirk Willem te Velde (Overseas Development Institute, ODI) and Dr Peter Holmes (University of Sussex) to discuss the future of UK trade and investment with China and Africa, in the aftermath of a potential Brexit.

The event was jointly organised by the Westminster Development Policy Network and the Westminster Economics Research Seminar Series.

The speakers explored the ongoing debate around the vision of a post-Brexit ‘Global Britain’, particularly with respect to its ties with external partners across Africa and China.

Dr Dirk Willem te Velde is a Principal Research Fellow and Head of the International Economic Development Group at the ODI. He has advised country governments and parliaments in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, and donor agencies such as DFID, European Commission, UN and the World Bank. His presentation highlighted that the UK needs to roll over GSP/EBA duty free quota free access for least developed countries (LDCs) in the UK market — this access is worth some £318 million to Africa.

Dr Peter Holmes is a Reader in Economics, specialising in European Economic Integration and other global public policy issues, including the EU’s relations with the WTO. He has written reports for the European Commission and the World Bank as well as providing evidence on Brexit to the EU Committee of the House of Lords. Furthermore he is an active member of the UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO). Peter highlighted China’s interest in a shallow (tariff only) Free Trade Agreement (FTA), where the EU wants a deeper deal, starting with a Bilateral Investment Treaty; while China is probably willing to talk about a shallow FTA with the UK, he questioned what the UK can offer in return for cars and services if tariffs are mostly zero without a deal.

Speaking about the event, Dr Karen Jackson, who co-organised the event alongside Dr Serena Masino, said: “This was a great opportunity to hear from leading experts who are both activity engaging with the UK government on these issues. On the day of the event itself, the UK Government has revised its Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff schedule in case of a no-deal Brexit; therefore, the speakers were able to reflect on what this may mean for the LDCs.”

Join in the discussion on twitter using #WestminsterDPN.

For further details contact Dr Karen Jackson ( and Dr Serena Masino (

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