Beyond trade negotiations: towards a culture of exporting in the UK

By Rachel Hesketh

Debates about trade have an inevitable Brexit hue at the moment. Our relationship with Europe is undoubtedly important for the UK trade balance – in 2016 just under half of UK goods exports and over a third of services exports were purchased by EU consumers. Put another way, more than half of goods exports and almost two-thirds of service exports go outside the EU. We do not yet know what our eventual trade relationship with the EU will be, nor the type or number of any new free-trade deals that the UK might conclude with other countries. Continue reading

Responding to Skripal: the benefits of a public inquiry

By Dr Robert Downes

In March this year, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal was attacked with a Soviet-era chemical weapon agent in Salisbury, a bucolic town in the west of England. The official investigation is seeking to identify the perpetrators. Prime Minister Theresa May has been clear: based on the available evidence, either the attack was a ‘direct action by the Russia state…or the Russian government lost control [of a] catastrophically damaging nerve agent.’ Continue reading

Brexit, the arms trade and Yemen: A window of opportunity for the UK government to review its relationship with Saudi Arabia

By Armida van Rij

The Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) is in London today meeting Theresa May. On the agenda are the reforms MBS has been passing in his Kingdom under his agenda known as Vision 2030. May and MBS will also be discussing the ongoing war in Yemen that Saudi Arabia has been pursuing since March 2015, which the UK supports directly and indirectly though intelligence, advisors and arms sales. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia gets little bang for its buck for investing in its armed forces – but that may be about to change

By Armida van Rij

Nearly 50% of all UK-manufactured arms are exported to Saudi Arabia. Some of these weapons are being used to wage war in Yemen, a war which, by conservative UN estimate, has caused 5,295 civilian deaths between March 2015 and November 2017. Now Saudi Arabia is looking to increase its military strength further. Continue reading

Despite the PM’s Munich speech, there’s still a long way to go on post-Brexit security cooperation

By Armida van Rij and Benedict Wilkinson

For policymakers on both sides of the Channel, it is clear that it is in everyone’s interest for the UK and the EU to continue to cooperate on security matters post-Brexit. Until this weekend, however, the big question pending was ‘How?’. Theresa May, speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, attempted to answer this question. Continue reading