free trade agreements
They say history repeats itself but never in the same way. In 1839, a Chinese scholar-official called Lin Zexu launched a campaign against British opium imports, which had made addicts of between four and twelve million Chinese people. The British responded with barbaric force, sending gunboats up the Yellow and Yangtze rivers and - at gunpoint - forcing "free" trade on the country.
Reports coming out of Brussels and Washington suggest that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, otherwise known as TTIP, has been crippled, possibly killed, by Brexit. Informed sources suggest that TTIP will be parked until Britain's Article 50 negotiations have been completed and that there is now a possibility that the deal will never be concluded.
Some have suggested that Brexit is a patriotic cause. And to argue for the UK to remain in the EU is somehow unpatriotic. I reject that entirely. I, as Britain's Minister for the Commonwealth, believe that the patriotic thing to do is what is in our country's long term interests. And I believe these interests are best served by re-committing to the Commonwealth and to a reformed EU.
With the referendum really heating up in recent weeks, there has been a surplus of outlandish claims coming from both sides. With plenty of column inches already dedicated to the Prime Minister's scaremongering about the dangers of World War 3 if we Leave the EU, the ordinary voter can understandably come to the conclusion the whole referendum issue is a bit of a storm in a teacup...
The E.U.'s TTIP assessment says that increases in CO2 emissions in its best case will be a "negligible" 11,000 tonnes. If the two-way trade in cars is going to add another 900,000 tonnes to that figure, it follows that other provisions in the proposed arrangements must bring about reductions in CO2 emissions on a similar scale.
Admittedly, that is a slightly sensationalist statement, but let's look at the facts. Forget highly-charged diatribes about United Irelands or United Kingdoms. Forget histrionic republicanism, flag-waving unionism and arguments about terrorists and freedom fighters. Take bigotry, ideology, and romanticism out of it.
Cross-border telecommunications are cheaper and easier after the EU abolished national monopolies for fixed-line services. The price of phonecalls has plummeted. Since 2000, the cost of a 10-minute call within the EU has fallen by an average of 74%...
We've now had it confirmed. Not only do many of Britain's business chiefs, Barack Obama and other world leaders think Britain would lose out if we left the EU, so too does the head of the World Trade Organisation, Roberto Azevêdo...
China could be set to invest some of its significant economic might in the controversial HS2 rail project and a new generation
Today, the EU and US will start the second round of negotiations on what could be the biggest trade deal ever seen. They present us with a stark choice: do we want the rules that govern our society to be decided by government, or by big business?