Committee chair slams FCO for ‘back of the fag packet’ sums

The FCO’s target to double trade with developing countries, including Turkey and Brazil, looks as though it has been worked out on the “back of a fag packet,” Richard Ottaway, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, has told CSW.

By Civil Service World

25 Apr 2012

Speaking in an interview, he said: “A number of slightly arbitrary targets have been set for the expansion of trade, like with Turkey and Brazil. The aim is to double trade by 2015 [and] it remains seriously aspirational, there’s no great thinking, no great master strategy as to how you [double] trade in four years.”

Ottaway added that “I think it does feel a bit back of the fag packet.” He also said that the target with Turkey is only to double trade by 2015, not necessarily to boost British exports. “We met a bank manager in Istanbul who said he could double trade between the UK and Turkey in two years, but it would all be into Britain and none of it would bring Britain into Turkey,” Ottaway said.

A Foreign Office spokesman replied that the detailed strategy for increasing trade has been set out in multiple government documents, and noted that the committee has previously welcomed the “galvanising effect” of the trade targets with Turkey. He added that exports to Turkey increased by 20 per cent in 2011, against 2010 figures.

Read the full interview with Ottaway


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