Liam Fox extols the virtues of free trade at an inaugural Commonwealth trade summit

Mark Sands
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The UK voted to leave the European Union on 23 June. (Source: Getty)

International trade secretary Liam Fox has met with more than 20 different Commonwealth counterparts at the first meeting of its kind at Lancaster House.

The Commonwealth Secretariat hosted Fox and trade ministers from around the world for a summit in London to discuss increased collaboration in commerce.

And speaking at the event, Fox extolled the benefits of free trade.

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"Those of us, represented here today, have, through our shared history and experience, witnessed the transformation that trade can bring and have a duty to ensure that the benefits that we enjoy today are made available to future generations,” he said.

Latest figures show intra-Commonwealth trade is projected to be worth a trillion dollars a year by 2020, with countries whose imports are likely to grow fastest including Mozambique, Bangladesh, India, Brunei, Ghana and Sierra Leone.

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“This represents not only a great opportunity for their citizens to share in the proceeds of global prosperity, but it represents tremendous opportunities to importers and exporters from across the whole Commonwealth, a genuinely win-win situation,” Fox said.

“It is not the concept of globalisation, nor the liberalisation of free-trade, that should be the target of those who rightly want to see the elimination of the scourge of global poverty but the elimination of corruption and the improvement in governance in many developing countries.

“But at the same time we need to ensure that we have the tools in place to help and protect those who do not materially benefit from the global age."

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