Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday, April 16, praised the idea of free trade among the members of the Commonwealth in a bid to see new sources of business as the country was looking to finalise its separation from European Union (EU), its current and biggest trading partner.
The UK is set to formally separate itself from the EU on March 29, 2019.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018 started in London on Monday and will continue till April 20. May is looking to ensure support of the Commonwealth, a network of countries that were mostly colonies of Britain in the past for her country's future trade deals and drive home the point that the future of Britain is bright after it exits the EU.
The Commonwealth is not a formal trading block and till recently, accounted for only nine per cent of British exports. In contrast, the EU voted for around 44 per cent of the British exports. Britain voted in favour of an exit from the EU in a referendum held in June 2016.
Addressing the inauguration of a Commonwealth business forum, May sought the use of common standards across the network which features 53 countries saying protectionism posed a threat to the world economy.
She batted for the Commonwealth saying it could set up a powerful example underlining the importance of free trade and an international order based on rules.
She said freer and easier trade meant stronger economies, more jobs, more choice and all at lower prices.
Britain has also been seeking trade deals with India, one of the fastest growing economies in the Commonwealth though the latter said it was in no rush to ink such an agreement and that the UK should be more open to Indian immigrants if it was really looking forward to a free trade deal.