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  • Writer's pictureTim Oliver

British Foreign Policy Must-reads10--16 July: China, Trade, Special Relationship, Brexit 2.0

The British foreign policy must-reads for last week have been delayed again, this time because I spent last weekend completing the Three Peaks Challenge to climb the three highest mountains in Scotland, England, and Wales in under 24 hours. Rain, more rain, traffic, and more rain, meant we just about made it, completing the climbs and driving in 23 hours 50 minutes. In the world of British foreign policy, last week began with a brief visit to the UK by President Biden, which triggered the well-rehearsed and almost always tedious debates about the future of the 'Special Relationship'. More substantial analysis on UK foreign policy came from the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament with its report on China and the British Chamber of Commerce's Trade Manifesto 2023. Both are worth a careful read.


  1. British decline?--New Statesman: David Edgerton: “The UK needs a politics of modesty” The acclaimed historian on whether Britain is in decline, the Nairn-Anderson thesis and what Labour gets wrong about economic growth.

  2. Conservatives—FT: The Conservative crisis of capitalism. As schisms in the party emerge over the right model for growth, the upshot is an inconsistent mess.

  3. Labour’s foreign policy: Bingham Centre: David Lammy’s speech, The Importance of the International Rule of Law.

  4. China—Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament: China. This Report considers the nature of the national security threat from China broadly, as well as in relation to three specific areas (Academia, Industry and Technology, and Civil Nuclear Energy).

  5. China — CER: Building UK-EU bridges: Convergent China policies? Ian Bond — This policy brief is the third of a three-paper CER/KAS project, ‘Shared Values, Common Challenges – UK European Security Co-operation after the War in Ukraine.’ The first brief focused on the European Political Community. The second dealt with co-operation in defence capabilities. This paper focuses on EU and UK policies towards China.

  6. Ukraine—British Foreign Policy Group: Britons’ Enduring Support for NATO.

  7. UK-US—Telegraph: Time to end the ‘Special Relationship’ delusion. Only on rare, if important, occasions has the United States been a close and true friend to the UK.

  8. Trade—British Chamber of Commerce: Trade Manifesto 2023.

  9. Trade--Politico: Britain’s post-Brexit trade alliance is a triumph … for Japan. Tokyo is the biggest winner of the UK’s accession to the CPTPP:

  10. Europe — New Statesman: Britain is the last liberal nation in Europe. Europe is being swallowed up by the right. Only Brexit Britain stands alone against the tide.

  11. Brexit 2.0—FT: British companies start to grapple with ‘Brexit 2.0’. UK business is concerned about new EU regulations that diverge from domestic equivalents.

  12. Brexit—Guardian: Here comes the next phase of Brexit – and it will be bad for our diet, health and wealth. Should we care whether we will have less access to artisan sheep’s milk cheese? When it makes the quality of life worse, then yes.

  13. Economics of Brexit—CEPR: The impact of Brexit on the UK economy: Reviewing the evidence. Two-thirds of the British public think Brexit has damaged the economy, while even among Leave voters only one in five think the impact has been positive. This column looks at the evidence across three key dimensions – trade, migration and investment – as well as the overall macroeconomic impacts. The impact on trade overall appears to have been broadly consistent with predictions so far, that on immigration much less negative (and perhaps even positive) and on investment somewhat worse. Perhaps the best estimate of the negative impact on Brexit on UK GDP to date is 2–3% of GDP.

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