Working for free trade
A Foreign & Commonwealth Office case study

Page 1: Introduction

      Businesses and consumers in the UK are buying and selling goods and services in ever more diverse and distant markets as globalisation increases. Trade is vital for a country’s prosperity, economic growth and the creation of jobs. This applies equally to poorer developing countries as to wealthy industrialised countries such as the UK. In the UK and the rest of the...
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Page 2: What is free trade?

Between the First and Second World Wars (1918-39) there was a slide towards protectionism. In particular, after the 1929 Wall Street Crash, America’s protectionist policies had global repercussions because of the size and importance of the country and its economy. The resulting world recession led to massive unemployment, with Germany hit worst of all. The effects of the recession were...
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Page 3: The World Trade Organisation

The WTO came with a large ‘built-in’ agenda agreed during the Uruguay Round. It covers a much wider range of topics than the GATT. As well as trade in goods, it also deals with services (such as financial services and telecommunications), agriculture, investment and much more. Unlike GATT, which could only advise on trade disputes between member countries, the WTO has the power to...
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Page 4: Protecting e-commerce

An important technical agreement on ‘safe harbours’ for data protection purposes between the EU and the United States was achieved in July 2000. This will help to boost transatlantic trade. It will ensure that data on individuals which is transferred electronically to the US – for instance by airlines and tour operators – will be better protected. At the same time it will...
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Page 5: Role of the FCO

Negotiations leading up to the agreement lasted two years. In negotiations of this type, the FCO is involved not only through the UK representative office to the EU, but often also bilaterally with a number of other governments. For instance: FCO staff working in Embassies in other individual EU member states might discuss the matter with the governments of those countries in order to agree a...
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Page 6: Conclusion

In the case of countries like Iraq or the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), sanctions are sometimes imposed by international agreement in the United Nations or other groupings. The sanctions on Iraq are because of its development of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ (e.g. nuclear and chemical weapons) and other issues resulting from its invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and those on the...
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