March 19, 2018 Print

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has established a new International Trade and Competition Unit, dedicated to researching and promoting free trade and the opening of trade barriers in a post-Brexit United Kingdom. The unit is to be directed by Shanker Singham, former director of economic policy and prosperity studies at the Legatum Institute.

Singham has served as trade advisor to the United States government and has advised the governments of Poland and Hungary in their respective EU membership negotiations. He also worked with the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romney in 2008 and 2012 and has authored the book A General Theory of Trade and Competition: Trade Liberalisation and Competitive Markets (Cameron May Publishing, 2007). Additionally, Singham is a Bretton Woods Committee member.

“I am delighted to be launching this new unit at the IEA, an organisation with a storied history robustly defending free trade and free markets,” said Singham. “As our country takes the first steps towards implementing its own independent trade policy, trade policy knowledge will be at a premium. At the same time, ensuring that we embrace competition as opposed to cronyism in this country and around the world is crucial to creating wealth and lifting people out of poverty. We look forward to being a resource to all who need us in the trade, competition and regulatory policy space."

The International Trade and Competition Unit is designed to specifically address the new challenges facing the United Kingdom following its eventual exit from the European Union. The new unit will perform research and advocate for an overall liberalization of trade policy and to reduce tariffs and trade barriers. It will also direct the IEA's work with EPICENTER, an independent initiative of eight leading think tanks from across Europe.

“I’m absolutely delighted that Shanker and his team are joining the Institute at a crucial time for the UK as it prepares to leave the European Union,” said Mark Littlewood, director general of IEA. “It is vital that we educate politicians and the wider public about the benefits of free trade and open markets, reject protectionism and that we build on our proud history of being an independent, free-trading nation.”

IEA has also added three additional staff: special counsel Victoria Hewson, previously with the Legatum Institute; senior economist Catherine McBride, also from Legatum; and senior research analyst Dr. Radomir Tylecote, former external advisor to Her Majesty’s Treasury.

The Institute of Economic Affairs is an Atlas Network partner which analyzes the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. The London-based organization received Lights, Camera, Liberty! grants in 2017 and 2018, won the Sir Antony Fisher International Memorial awards in 2013 and 2014, and hosted the European Liberty Forum in 2016.