Brexit LIVE: Britain issues ultimatum as trade spat erupts – Urgent message sent

Brexit: Liz Truss claims trade with the EU is 'bouncing back'

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It comes after a report released by NGO Human Rights Watch highlighted increasing police brutality, detentions, and extra-judicial killings being undertaken by the Sri Lankan law enforcement. Lord Tariq Ahmed, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth made clear to the Government, led by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, that any benefits Sri Lanka gets from a UK trade relationship would be subject to tight conditions.

On the conditions, Lord Ahmed added: “These conditions include ratifying and effectively implementing 27 international conventions on human and labour rights, sustainability and good governance, and complying with those conventions’ reporting and monitoring requirements.”

He added, “more trade does not have to come at the expense of human rights.”

It comes after ministers included Sri Lanka in its Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), which aims to slash red tape and grow free and fair trade.

This includes improvements such as lower tariffs and simpler rules of origin requirements for countries exporting to the UK, allowing countries to diversify their exports and grow their economies.

But ministers came under pressure from Labour for failing to put sanctions in place for senior government officials.

Sam Tarry MP, Shadow Transport Minister, said: “Indeed, not a single Sri Lankan Government Minister, official or military officer has been designated by the UK Government for human rights sanctions, despite widely available evidence of human rights abuses.”

Bilateral trade between the UK and Sri Lanka stood at £1.2billion in 2020, and Liz Truss’ officials have admitted there is “room for growth.”

Sri Lankan authorities have remained silent on the human rights matter in recent months.


8am update: Irish trade with Britain plummets

Ireland’s post-Brexit trade with Britain has fallen significantly, a Government report has found.

The most significant factor behind the changes was traders abandoning the once-speedier British ‘land bridge’ where hauliers would take a short sea crossing between Dublin and Holyhead, drive across Britain and then take another ferry to mainland Europe.

Many are shunning the route over concerns about delays and disruption due to new customs controls, the Irish Maritime Development Office (IMDO) quarterly report said. 

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