With free trade helping to lift more than 1 billion people out of poverty since 1990, I recognise the important role that the UK's trade policy can play in relieving poverty in developing countries. The Government remains committed to alleviating poverty through trade and the Departments for International Trade and International Development work closely together on their trade and development programmes.
The Taxation (Cross-border Trade) Bill, will enshrine in law a UK trade preferences scheme for developing countries. This will, as a minimum, maintain the same level as access as our current EU trade preference scheme. After the UK has left the EU, the Government will seek to improve upon these trade arrangements, helping further alleviate poverty in developing countries.
The Bill commits to maintaining full tariff exemptions on UK imports from 48 of the world's Least Developed Countries, as well as offering generous tariff reductions to other developing countries. With UK imports of goods from these Least Developed Countries more than doubling in value between 2010 and 2017, I am confident that maintaining these exemptions will help grow their economies still further.
I welcomed the recent announcement of £18 million in funding for 51 of the world's poorest countries. This funding from the Government will help these countries to produce products fit for export, trade more easily across borders, and access untapped new markets which have the potential to create thousands of jobs and lift their citizens out of poverty.
The Government is committed to alleviating poverty in the world's poorest countries. I am confident that, with the right tools, the UK can help countries trade their way out poverty and build mutually beneficial economies of the future.
Turning to parliamentary scrutiny of trade agreements, following the UK's vote to leave the European Union, the Government has made clear that we will be leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union. This means that the UK will be able to operate a fully independent trade policy. The Department for International Trade is examining options to ensure continued access to trade agreements negotiated by the European Union which the UK is already party to. In addition, the Government has committed to making new free trade agreements more transparent and inclusive. The Government is determined that the UK will become a world leader in free trade, and ensure that we secure the right deals for the United Kingdom. These bespoke deals will be scrutinised by our Parliament, as all treaties are.