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Brexit: UK 'may need a big row with EU' says Hoey
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The peer, previously Kate Hoey, MP for Vauxhall until she stood before the last general election, was announced as Britain’s new trade envoy to Ghana earlier this month. And she told Express.co.uk Brexit would also help Britain to put a stop to Brussels’ exploitation of developing countries – by cutting out the EU as the middleman.
We haven’t taken these opportunities in the past because we were so tied in by the EU rules
Ms Hoey, a former minister under ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair who represented her seat first for Labour and then eventually as an independent, said: “I think the point of it is that we’re no longer going to be looking to the European Union as being the be-all-and-and-all and everything.
“And therefore, the more we get people in this country just to think of the world outside the European Union, given that it’s not been this great disaster that everyone said, the better.”
She stressed: “We haven’t taken these opportunities in the past because we were so tied in by the EU rules.”
Ms Hoey said Ghana, whose official language is English, was an excellent fit for the UK.
Additionally, its relative closeness to the UK, being just a five-and-a-half hour flight away, also made it a natural partner, she pointed out.
She said: “I will probably visit later in the year but the first thing we do is get to know the Ghanaian business diaspora community.”
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Ms Hoey, whose unpaid role will involve making introductions and facilitating meetings between representatives of the two countries, emphasised the benefits went both ways.
For example, In 2019, Ghana exported £1.16billion’s worth of cocoa beans – but these were processed into products including cocoa powder and cocoa butter elsewhere.
Ms Hoey said: “This is something we said when we were campaigning to leave.
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“They produce the cocoa, then Germany or somewhere else takes it and makes all the money out of it.
“A lot of those developing countries could sell the cocoa but they couldn’t turn it into anything.
“The next stage is always done in Western countries so there is a bit of support we can give them on that.”
Ms Hoey also emphasised Ghana’s role as an important regional leader in west Africa under President Nana Akufo-Addo.
She said: “Ghana is very stable and the current president was educated in England.
“When the Commonwealth conference was held last time in the United Kingdom, a couple of years ago and Buckingham Palace had the dinner, it was the Ghanaian president who did the toast to the Queen.”
The UK signed an interim trade partnership with Ghana on March 2.
A report published alongside it said: “With our exit from the EU, HM Government has sought to deliver the maximum possible certainty to businesses and consumers through ensuring continuity in the United Kingdom’s existing trade relationships.
“It is in both Ghana and the United Kingdom’s interests to minimise disruption to trade flows.
“To achieve this, HM Government has developed new agreements that replicate, as far as possible, the effects of the EU’s trade arrangements with partner countries, as they applied to the United Kingdom prior to the end of the transition period.”
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