Initiative for Free Trade
The IFT is a UK-based lobby group for free trade, launched Sept.2017. It supports a hard Brexit and says it 'sees Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union as a unique opportunity to revitalise the world trading system.'ref
Participating think-tanks: Adam Smith Institute (UK), American Enterprise Institute (US), Centre for Policy Studies (UK), Competitive Enterprise Institute (US), Institute of Economic Affairs (UK), Manhattan Institute (US), Mercatus Centre (US), Politeia (UK), the Heritage Foundation (US).
- President: Daniel Hannan
International Advisory Board
- Jon Moynihan, chairman and co-principal of Ipex Capital
- Alan Halsall, former joint chairman of Business for Britain
- Lord Jones of Birmingham, founding director of Digby Jones LLP, former Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment, former director-general of the CBI
- Dame Helena Morrissey, head of personal investing at Legal & General Investment Management
- Brian Kingham, founding chairman of Reliance Security Group
- Jim Mellon, chairman of Burnbrae
- Max Rangeley, manager of the Cobden Centre
- 2018: Why Free Trade is Good for Your Health. Should be entitled "Why the IFA is bad for your health". Very clever (but not quite clever enough) spin job. IFT.
- Sept.19.2018: Let American firms run hospitals, urges free trade group. Ministers should allow American healthcare companies to compete with the NHS to run hospitals as part of a free-trade pact after Brexit. The IFT also said that the UK should end its ban on imports of products such as chlorinated chicken and accept American environmental and food safety regulations as equivalent to those in the UK. The report was co-authored by the libertarian Cato Institute. Oliver Wright, The Times.
- Feb.22.2018: Johnson facing new questions over use of FCO room by thinktank. Foreign secretary was involved in decision not to charge hard Brexit group for use of facilities. Sue Gray, the Cabinet Office director general of propriety and ethics, suggested that the IFT should pay a full commercial fee for the Foreign Office’s grand rooms in Whitehall, but the department argued it was in line with previous policy to offer the facilities for free. Boris Johnson signed off up to £6,000 of lost income for the hire of a room. Head of the FDA union said: "The civil service... cannot simply be the plaything of ministers to support their own pet projects. Once again, we see politicians who cannot separate their own ideological beliefs from the responsibilities of ministerial office". Rajeev Syal, The Guardian.
- Feb.17.2018: Rightwing groups plot to ditch EU safety standards on food and drugs. An unprecedented drive to lobby ministers to ditch strict EU safety standards in order to secure a US trade deal is being drawn up by a transatlantic group of conservative thinktanks. Organisers of the self-styled "shadow trade talks", which are set to include 10 leading rightwing and libertarian groups from the UK and the US, are preparing to push their "ideal free trade agreement" that would allow the import of US meats, drugs and chemicals banned in Britain. Such a move would allow imports of chlorinated chicken and hormone-reared beef to be sold in the UK for the first time. The document states: "An ideal US-UK FTA would focus on mutual recognition of standards and qualifications for goods and occupations", which was uncovered by Greenpeace’s investigative unit "UnEarthed". The shadow trade talks are set to include 10 leading right-wing think tanks from the UK and US: AEI, Cato Institute, Manhattan Institute, Heritage Foundation, CEI, IEA, Legatum Institute, Adam Smith Institute, Policy Exchange, Civitas. Shadow trade secretary Barry Gardiner told Unearthed: “This looks like another attempt by the IFT to legitimise what is an overtly political agenda by using a govt department to sanction their work with right-wing think tanks overseas. Michael Savage, The Guardian.
- Dec.18.2017: Brexit thinktank removes 'institute' from its name. The Institute for Free Trade, set up by Tory MEP Daniel Hannan and supported by Boris Johnson, was threatened with a fine... has changed its name and website after it faced a possible fine for describing itself as an "institute" without permission. Peter Walker, Anushka Asthana, The Guardian.
- Sept.27.2018: Using Brexit to make free trade deals will help us cut prices, boost growth and help world trade. AS Britain got ready to join the EEC in 1973, one of the biggest arguments in the build up was over whether food prices would go up.. They did — by as much as 40%. Britain was no longer free to buy on world markets — Canadian wheat, Argentine beef, New Zealand lamb. ... On Tuesday, alongside Boris Johnson and Liam Fox, I’ll be launching the Institute for Free Trade, which aims to use Brexit to cut prices, boost growth and help world trade. Outside the EU, we can sign deals with Australia, China, India, the US — helping our own folk and theirs. Daniel Hannan, The Sun.
- Sept.29.2017: Institute for Free Trade. The IFT is part of the marketing department for extreme exploitative international capitalism. It focuses on promoting capitalist free trade as an alternative to “protectionist” capitalism. In the specific political world that the IFT prefers all the claimed advantages of “free trade” over "protectionism" are advantages for only the elite few; that is, the few who "own" the means of production. DuckSoap.
- Free-for-all trade fans. Free Traders: Tony Abbott and Daniel Hannan, Board of Trade advisers - and members of a think tank which would one day like to see the NHS open to US corporations Issue 1530, Private Eye, Sept.08.2020.
- A hard-Brexit think tank accidentally published its plans for US-UK "shadow trade talks". A transatlantic network of conservative think tanks accidentally published its secret plans to influence US-UK trade negotiations. Documents outline plans to form an “unprecedented” coalition of hard-Brexit and libertarian think tanks, which will call for Britain to ditch strict EU safety standards – including rules on food and pharmaceuticals – in order to secure a sweeping US-UK trade deal. UnEarthed@Greenpeace, Lawrence Carter, Feb.17.2018