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  • Writer's pictureTim Oliver

BFP Must-Reads 20.3-26.3 France, Trade, Food, Immigration, Brexit, Defence, Albania, Gulf, China

Here are my British Foreign Policy Must-Reads from a week filled with ongoing analysis following last week's Integrated Review and AUKUS Agreement. For that reason I've gone beyond the usual ten readings to cover: the cancelled State Visit of the King to France that had been due to start today; reports on transatlantic trade and UK trade; UK's food security; debates about immigration (especially workers); the government's asylum plans with Rwanda; UK-Albania relations; the Good Friday Agreement and the geopolitics of the British Isles; the future of UK-EU relations after the Windsor Framework; Brexit (some rather optimistic pieces in The Times and Telegraph); the Integrated Review; defence spending; sustaining AUKUS; and the UK's relations with the Gulf and China.

  1. King Charles’s State Visit to France ~ Politico: Clea Calcutt — King Charles’ visit scrapped as France burns. Under-fire Emmanuel Macron cites ‘risk of incidents’ amid widespread protests over pension reform.

  2. Transatlantic Trade ~ Johns Hopkins University: Daniel S. Hamilton and Joseph Quinlan — Transatlantic Economy 2023, 20th Anniversary Edition. The Transatlantic Economy 2023 offers the most up-to-date set of facts and figures describing the deep economic integration binding Europe and the United States. It documents European-sourced jobs, trade and investment in each of the 50 U.S. states, and U.S.-sourced jobs, trade and investment in each member state of the European Union and other European countries. It reviews key headline trends and helps readers understand the distinctive nature of transatlantic economic relations.

  3. Trade ~ City AM: Chris Southworth — In the absence of fresh cash, it will be trade which drives further growth in the UK. Jeremy Hunt’s Budget almost ignored trade. But when cash is short, trade is the ultimate lever to unleash growth in our economy: that’s why we must support companies to trade more, writes Chris Southworth.

  4. Trade ~ Institute of Export and International Trade: New report encourages businesses to embrace greater digitalisation of international trade. TradeTech: A pathway for businesses to seize trade opportunities explores how technology could be a fundamental part of ensuring international trade moves away from its existing dependence on paper-based forms, thus allowing businesses to digitalise trade operations.

  5. Food ~ Bloomberg: Aine Quinn, Agnieszka de Sousa, Helen Chandler-Wilde and Katie Linsell — The Murky Business Behind Britain’s Rampant Food Price Inflation. Brexit is forcing farmers to scour the globe for workers and it’s become a lucrative business for unscrupulous recruiters.

  6. Immigration ~ Bloomberg: Lucy White — UK Reliance on Overseas Workers Rose Since Brexit, Census Shows. Hospitality, logistics and the NHS rely on staff from overseas. Figures cast doubt on government’s effort to reduce migration.

  7. Rwanda ~ The Times: Jane Flanagan — Congo says UK is turning a blind eye to Rwanda atrocities. The president of the Democratic Republic of Congo has given an excoriating assessment of Britain’s migrant deal with Rwanda which, he claimed, was in exchange for silence on abuses by the regime of President Kagame.

  8. Albania ~ Guardian: Alexandra Topping — Albanian PM hits out at Braverman over ‘disgraceful’ comments on migrants. Edi Rama says home secretary’s references to ‘Albanian criminals’ could themselves be considered a crime.

  9. Good Friday Agreement ~ UKICE: The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement at 25: Northern Ireland and the totality of relations. As we approach the 25th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, Conor J. Kelly highlights how its ‘three strands’ can help manage the different sets of relationships across these islands.

  10. UK-EU Relations ~ UKICE: Beyond the Windsor Framework: what’s next for the UK’s relations with its neighbours? Cleo Davies and Hussein Kassim look at what might be next for UK-EU relations after the Windsor Framework, highlighting that while the agreement is an important milestone the UK still faces challenges on the path to normalising its relations with the EU.

  11. Brexit ~ The Times: Iain Martin — Rejoice, the Brexit wars are finally over. The usual suspects failed to scupper Rishi Sunak’s compromise — now we can develop an adult relationship with the EU.

  12. Brexit ~ Telegraph: Brexit needs a new cheerleader. It was never just a problem to solve, or a process to follow. It is a generational project to remake Britain and end a culture of decline.

  13. Integrated Review ~ UKICE: Peter Jerkovic and Tom Howe — Integrated Review Refresh 2023. This explainer looks at the 2023 ‘refresh’ of the 2021 Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy. It sets out why the 2021 Integrated Review was updated, the ways in which the 2023 Integrated Refresh is different, and how much spending it promises. The explainer also looks in particular at what the 2023 Refresh says about Europe, China and the Indo-Pacific.

  14. Integrated Review ~ UKICE: Integrated Review Refresh 2023 – towards a more pragmatic chapter in UK foreign policy? Luigi Scazzieri analyses the recent ‘refresh’ of the 2021 Integrated Review, arguing that it marks a new more pragmatic chapter in UK foreign policy and underscores a renewed willingness to engage with the EU.

  15. Defence spending ~ FT: Sylvia Pfeifer — UK resumes payments for army’s troubled Ajax programme. Defence secretary says progress made on long-delayed £5.5bn armoured vehicle procurement.

  16. AUKUS ~ RUSI: Peter Layton — Helping AUKUS Last the Distance. While defence matters usually receive limited meaningful public debate in Australia, the government will need to take a different approach if it is to ensure the long-term success of AUKUS.

  17. The Gulf ~ RUSI: Tobias Borck — Shifting Sands: The UK’s Role in a Changing Gulf. The agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore diplomatic relations, facilitated by China and signed in Beijing on 11 March, was a jolt to the geopolitics of the Middle East. While much attention is rightly focused on what the agreement – and China’s role in it, in particular – says about US influence in the region, it also has significant implications for the UK, for which the Gulf remains of high strategic importance.

  18. China ~ Daily Mail: Alexander Butler — Top lawyer slams UK Government for ‘radio silence’ on China-sponsored arrest of British citizen, 75, who is trapped in solitary confinement and is now likely to 'die in prison. Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC said UK's response was 'weak' and 'too little too late’. Jimmy Lai, 75, who is a critic of the Chinese Communist Party, faces life in prison.

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