There is a new ambivalence about trade in western societies. Remarkably, this unpicking of the pro-globalization orthodoxy of the post-Cold War period has come not from the world’s poor, nor from the ranks of the usual protectionist suspects, but from within the two great advocates of open trade: America and Britain. We have an American President who says ‘protection will lead to great prosperity and strength’, while Britain is turning its back on the European Union internal market it invented.
This is a difficult context in which to pursue the vision of Global Britain. It is ironic that the first step towards this involves leaving the world’s most sophisticated international trade and regulatory system.