The 2023 Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting concluded at Marlborough House in London on Tuesday, with the shared commitment to promote inclusive participation and equal benefits for all member states, especially developing countries including small island states, in the multilateral trading system.

The discussions built upon the initiatives agreed upon by Commonwealth Heads of Government in Kigali, Rwanda, in June 2022, and emphasised the importance of sustainable and resilient economic development in the post-COVID recovery era.

One of the key outcomes of the meeting was the decision to mandate the Commonwealth Working Group on Trade and Investment to create an investment plan of action. This plan aims to increase investment flows among Commonwealth member countries, particularly in infrastructure development and clean, green investments.

Recognising the importance of digitalisation, the trade ministers underscored the need to facilitate digital trade for inclusive growth and development. They emphasised the importance of developing digital public infrastructure, ensuring affordable access to digital technologies, and promoting digital financial services to bridge the digital divide and address skills gaps.

The outcome statement also stressed the importance of addressing global challenges such as climate change, food security, and women’s economic empowerment through trade and investment. The ministers expressed their commitment to promoting sustainable trade practices, green economies, and the empowerment of women-owned businesses.

The 2023 Commonwealth Trade Ministers Meeting sets the stage for further discussions on these issues at the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Apia, Samoa, in 2024.