The UK’s Board of Trade publishes a new report-Green Trade
The second report by the Board of Trade – Green Trade – was published recently (21 July 2021). The report highlights the importance of free markets and enabling the free flow of information and proliferation of green technology to tackling climate change. The Board also demonstrates how the UK can leverage its trade agenda to accelerate the global green transition by:
- promoting the UK's green exports and technology overseas
- attracting foreign investment to build the UK's green industrial base
- using the UK's independent trade policy to reduce barriers to green trade
Tech businesses have an important role to play in supporting the UK’s ‘green trade’ priorities. With the green trade high on the government agenda, there will growing opportunities for cleantech companies seeking government support to expand overseas. The report lists two UK’s global platforms UK green tech companies can leverage to grow overseas; COP26 and Dubai Expo DIT pavilions, and UK Export Finance (UKEF) - which has capacity to deploy over £2 billion of direct lending to finance clean growth projects, and a suite of products such as the Export Development Guarantee to support UK companies to transition towards low-carbon business models.
Against the backdrop of the growing concentration of critical inputs and technologies in a few markets, the document highlights the importance of securing critical imports to build the capability of green businesses in the UK, lowering the cost of green technology to compete in the global net zero economy, and accelerating the transition by exporting green products overseas. The government’s ambition is to support resilient green trade, with the production of critical green technologies spread across the world. The report references the proposed UK-Australia Clean Tech partnership is one example of how governments can support resilience and help develop green technologies through trade.
Inward investment is set to play a crucial role in funding the development of new green technologies such as energy, infrastructure, transport and agri-tech sectors. There is an ambition to channel cross-border investment into the UK’s growing green sectors to help catalyse the net zero transition in all regions of the UK. The Board also suggests an opportunity for the UK to serve as a global hub for green finance.
The report also includes recommendations on how the UK can also use its trade policy to help support environmental action overseas:
- Unilateral policy measures such as the UK Global Tarif, which keeps tariffs at 0% on all environmental goods previously covered by the EU’s tariff policy.
- Bilateral trade negotiations to safeguard the UK’s existing environmental standards, promote sustainable trade and, where possible, to raise environmental standards. The report highlights the government’s’ commitment to including a chapter on trade and environment in the forthcoming FTAs.
- Plurilateral routes to use UK’s convening power and role at the G7, G20 and MC12 to emphasise how trade can impact on the climate and environment
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