Dominic Raab tells officials to trade with countries that fail to meet human rights standards in leaked video

Britain risks missing out on ‘growth markets of future’ if it insists on international standards

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Tuesday 16 March 2021 18:10 GMT

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has told officials that the UK will seek trade deals with countries which do not meet international standards on human rights.

In a leaked video call with staff in the Foreign Office (FCDO), Mr Raab said that Britain would miss out on trade with future “growth markets” if it insisted on dealing only with countries which meet the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights.

His comments emerged shortly after the release of a new foreign policy document which set out Boris Johnson’s plans for an “Indo-Pacific tilt” away from traditional partners in Europe and was criticised by senior Tory backbenchers for failing to take a tough enough line with China over abuses in Hong Kong and Xinjiang.

In the video question and answer session with FCDO staff, a recording of which was obtained by the HuffPost website, Mr Raab can be heard saying: “I squarely believe we ought to be trading liberally around the world.

“If we restrict it to countries with ECHR-level standards of human rights, we’re not going to do many trade deals with the growth markets of the future.”

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