IFT is a private, not-for-profit, non-partisan research organisation.

IFT makes the intellectual and moral case for free trade, and sees Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union as a unique opportunity to revitalise the world trading system.

IFT’s President is the Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan. IFT is managed by an Executive Board, and has an International Advisory Board, which includes former heads of government, trade ministers and business leaders.

IFT is funded by donations and grants from private individuals, commercial and non-commercial organisations, supplemented by revenue from some publication sales and conferences. If you would like to support our work, please visit our donation page.



José María Aznar

Prime Minister of Spain (1996-2004)

Jorge Quiroga

President of Bolivia (2001-2002)

Tony Abbott

Prime Minister of Australia (2013-2015)

Ruth Richardson

Finance Minister of New Zealand (1990-1993)

Ben Murray-Bruce

Senator for Bayelsa East, Nigeria (2015-present)

Lord Howard

British Home Secretary (1993-1997)

Ben Sasse

Senator for Nebraska, US (2015-present)



Jon Moynihan

CHAIRMAN - Chairman and co-Principal of Ipex Capital

Alan Halsall

DEPUTY CHAIRMAN - Former Co-Chairman of Business for Britain

Lord Lilley

Secretary of State for Trade and Industry(1990-1992) and Social Security (1992-1997)

Dame Helena Morrissey

Head of Personal Investing at Legal & General Investment Management

Lord Salisbury

Leader of the House of Lords (1994-1997)

Brian Kingham

Entrepreneur, Investor and Founding Chairman of Reliance Security Group

Lord Jones

Minister for Trade & Investment (2007-2008); Director-General of CBI (2000-2006)

Jim Mellon

Entrepreneur, Investor and Chairman of Burnbrae

Max Rangeley

Manager of the Cobden Centre



Prof. David Paton

Chair of Industrial Economics, University of Nottingham

Oni Oviri

CEO, Sasare Associates; Supply Chain & Procurement Consultant

Mohammed Saqub

Partner, Shakespeare Martineau LLP

Brian Sturgess

Managing Editor, World Economics Journal

Daniel Raisbeck

Founder, Movimiento Libertario, Colombia

Iftikar Awan

Chair of Trustees, Muslim Aid; CEO Awan Consulting Ltd

Keith Boyfield

Consultant Economist; Director, Keith Boyfield Associates Ltd.



IFT recaptures the moral case for open commerce

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.



Brexit is more than an opportunity to take back control. Properly managed, it ought to benefit the entire world


No one is born a free trader. We have the instincts of hunter-gatherers: to hoard food, to provide against famine, to seek self-sufficiency. But these instincts can make it difficult to accept the economic dependence on which open trade is based. We will use videos and online resources to make the case in a way designed to appeal to sceptics – which is to say, to almost everyone.


We will reach out to businesses and interest groups around the world, particularly in developing countries. We will bring them together to look at specific ways in which eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers will lead to general prosperity. We will publish country-by-country and sector-by-sector studies showing how FTAs will benefit participating economies.


We will use our extensive networks within governments to promote new trade agreements and to make sure that they focus on mutual recognition rather than standardisation – in other words, that they benefit consumers rather than producers. We will work closely with, though independently of, the UK’s newly established International Trade Department, ensuring that Brexit becomes a catalyst for a freer global trading order. We will bring together the relevant ministers and officials to hear the best arguments for open markets. We will publish a Free Trade Index, ranking countries according to their openness to foreign commerce and investment.