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Free trade has lifted mankind to a level of wealth that was recently unimaginable. In 1990, 38 percent of human beings lived in extreme poverty; today, that figure has fallen to 8 per cent, as previously closed African and Asian economies have joined the global market.

Yet, paradoxically, free trade has never been so out of fashion. Across the world, idealistic people march against trade deals, protest G20 summits, occupy stock exchanges, sincerely believing that, in doing so, they are standing up for the poor against multinational corporations – when, in reality, they are doing the opposite.

Politicians naturally respond to public opinion. We are witnessing a trade war between the world’s largest and second-largest economies. The Uruguay Round, concluded in 1994, was the last successful comprehensive multilateral trade negotiation. Until CPTPP, the last major regional trade deals were ASEAN and NAFTA, agreed in the early 1990s.

We need to recapture the moral case for open commerce. Free trade is not simply a way to buy cheaper iPhones. It is the ultimate instrument of poverty alleviation, conflict resolution and social justice.

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Mark Wallace

@wallaceme 12 hours ago

Quite striking how while the views of British politicians are challenged and presented with scepticism (rightly) mu… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

Kate Andrews

@KateAndrs 6 hours ago

Good stuff from Downing Street 👌 twitter.com/GuardianHeathe…

iFreeTrade

@IFTtweets 7 hours ago

"...this is the opportunity; and if not seized, the results will not be neutral, they will be negative." To seize… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

iFreeTrade

@IFTtweets 8 hours ago

Wisdom from Stephen Harper (IFT event 06/18): "..say you do not have the same economic relationship with EU after B… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…

iFreeTrade

@IFTtweets 8 hours ago

Mixed messages coming from cabinet on this. twitter.com/bbclaurak/stat… twitter.com/JohnAlty1/stat…

Daniel Hannan

@DanielJHannan 21 hours ago

@AndrewDoubtfire Nope. The EFTA countries have FTAs with many countries that the EU hasn't, including China.

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