The UK’s trade deals need to show more ambition on services

Alan vallance headshot

Post-Brexit agreements must not overlook the importance of services like architecture, Alan Vallance tells the government

Spreading the message about the global value of UK architecture is one of the best parts of being chief executive of the RIBA. The talent of UK architects is sought worldwide, and the sector’s ability to do business overseas is central to its survival and growth. That’s why we’ve been following the political debate on trade so closely.

A few weeks ago, the government published further details on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) provisionally agreed between the UK and Australia and, last week, we learnt of the UK’s plans to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

We’re often asked what we think of these deals and our answer is always the same: great news, but the details must support the work of UK architects. The agreements seem positive, but their value depends entirely on how they will work in practice. To that end, it’s worth noting one initial problem with the new raft of trade agreements – and that’s trade in services.

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