The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) in a recent research revealed that a Commonwealth country’s trade with another member is likely to be a third to a half more than with a non-member.
This is even after taking into account other possible contributory factors such as proximity, level of development and language.The research also revealed that, over the last two decades, the importance of Commonwealth members to each other as sources of imports and destinations for exports has grown by around a quarter and third respectively. The total value of imports into Commonwealth countries was around $2.3 trillion in 2008 and the total value of exports from Commonwealth countries was around $2.1 trillion in 2008.
Writing to an international affairs magazine, Global on 4 October, British Prime Minister David Cameron said, “The Commonwealth can be a powerful, authoritative and hugely influential force for economic progress in the 21st century. Everyone can benefit from an increase in trade flows.”
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 countries and accounts for a fifth of all world trade, spanning 6 continents with a combined population of over 2 billion people worldwide. Over the last decade, trade within the association has grown by 50 per cent, reaching £3 trillion per year. Commonwealth members support each other and work together towards shared goals in democracy and development.
The Commonwealth traces its roots as far back as the 1870s. Today’s unique association was reconstituted in 1949 when Commonwealth Prime Ministers met and adopted what has become known as the ‘London Declaration’, where it was agreed all member countries would be “freely and equally associated.”