Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy outlines ‘economic foreign policy’ pitch on trip to Brazil.
A future Labour government would seek to grow U.K. trade with emerging economies such as Brazil and India, its foreign affairs lead said.
Speaking during a five-day visit to Brazil, Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy set out plans for a “new economic diplomacy,” with special “economic attaches” dispatched to boost trade with key developing nations.
Lammy’s Labour Party enjoys a healthy 20 point lead in opinion polls over the ruling Conservatives. With a U.K. election due within 18 months, strategists are finessing its policy objectives in key areas such as the economy, trade and foreign affairs.
On the first full day of his visit Wednesday, Lammy will meet senior figures in the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (known as Lula) in a bid to set out his party’s priorities and forge links before, if the polls prove correct, he becomes Britain’s foreign secretary.
He told POLITICO: “Labour is building the relationships we will need in government now, so that if the British public elect a Labour government, we will be ready to reconnect Britain for security and prosperity at home on day one.”
If voted into office, Lammy said he would carry out an audit of U.K. diplomats based around the world, and boost the number of attachés in key locations such as Brazil and India, with a view to accelerating trade.
Like Labour, Lula’s Workers’ Party is a member of the Progressive Alliance international grouping of center left and social democratic parties. Lammy is due to hold talks in the capital Brasilia with Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira, Minister of the Supreme Court Alexandre de Moraes, Minister of Racial Equality Anielle Franco and other members of the Lula administration.
On the table are increased trade, cooperation on critical minerals and Labour’s backing for Brazilian permanent membership of a reformed U.N. Security Council and the OECD.
Brazil in focus
Lammy accused the Conservatives of failing to take Brazil, the 10th largest economy in the world, seriously, with no prime minister having visited there during the 10 years the party has been in power; Brazil represents only 0.5 percent of Britain’s overseas trade.
After Brasilia, the shadow foreign secretary will travel on to the Amazon rainforest, in the state of Pará, which will host the COP30 summit. He said the Tory government was squandering Britain’s leadership on climate change, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak a notable absentee from several key environmental summits. In contrast, he said, Labour would include a “green dimension” to its foreign policy.
Lammy added: “In the face of global challenges like the climate crisis, technological change and food and energy insecurity, the strength of our partnerships with regional powers will be key to Britain’s success.
“A refreshed U.K.-Brazil relationship can enhance trade, particularly in critical minerals vital for technology and the green transition.”