October 05, 2019: At the Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting to be held at Marlborough House, London on October 10, trade ministers and senior officials from 53 Commonwealth countries will discuss strategies for deepening trade and investment while supporting a transparent, inclusive, fair and open rules-based global trading system. The outcomes of the meeting will shape trade-related discussions at the next Commonwealth heads of government meeting scheduled for June 2020 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Following three days of discussions among senior trade officials from October 7 – 9, the focus will be on strengthening multilateral trade, fighting protectionism and progressing efforts to achieve $2 trillion worth of trade within the Commonwealth by 2030.

Commonwealth secretary general Patricia Scotland said, "Our Commonwealth approach recognises that all are able to give, and all are able to gain. By coming together in our rich economic, cultural and geographical diversity, we learn much from one another and are able to accelerate inclusive and more sustainable progress for all."

"Amid global uncertainties, the Commonwealth remains a champion for transparent, inclusive, fair and open rules-based trade. Our Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting is a tremendously valuable opportunity to consider issues of pressing concern in an atmosphere of trust and goodwill, and to agree on action that needs to be taken by our member nations collectively and individually," she added.

The Common Earth initiative will be a network of projects that can be copied and adapted to suit communities around the world.

While the Commonwealth contains G20 industrial powers like Britain, Canada and Australia and emerging forces like India and Nigeria, many of its members are developing island microstates which feel exceptionally vulnerable to climate change.

The UK secretary of state for international trade Elizabeth Truss said, "The 53 member states in the Commonwealth boast a combined population of over 2.4 billion people and intra-Commonwealth trade is projected to reach $700 billion by next year.

"The global outlook on trade is changing rapidly and we face the ever-present challenge of a rise in protectionist tendencies. Together, the Commonwealth member countries can help to fight against protectionism and promote a transparent, inclusive, fair and open rules-based multilateral trading system."

Ministers will also reflect on how to make trade more inclusive and sustainable, by engaging more women and youth at all levels, as well as developing the blue and green economy.

They will review the progress made under the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda, an initiative launched by heads of government last year to support economic growth and job creation.

This includes moves to harness the digital revolution in Commonwealth economies, and create an enabling environment for the private sector to tap into global trade, especially micro, small and medium enterprises.

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