Brexit and international cooperation

Brexit – as we plan for the UK’s departure from the European Union we will prioritise strengthening mechanisms for international cooperation, continue to work with partners to boost global efforts to tackle corruption and develop the opportunities our new status provides.

Completion Status:
⚠ Unqualified*

*commitment is not specific or/and not measurable

Commitment filtering:

Specific: ❌ no

We do not view this commitment as specific because it does not target a concrete and sufficiently narrow policy area or initiative. It is not clear which mechanism for international cooperation the UK wants to strengthen, what global efforts the UK will boost with partners, and which new opportunities will arise from the UK’s exit from the EU, other than perhaps an independent sanctions policy.

Measurable: ❌ no

This commitment may refer to two thematic areas.

Firstly, it could refer to the introduction of Magnitsky-style sanctions,[1] which the UK can now impose against those responsible for serious human rights abuses independently of the EU. It is important to notice here that, unlike the Magnitsky sanctions introduced by US and Canada, the UK only targets human rights abusers, not the corrupt. The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, stated the UK’s intent to introduce these sanctions during his opening remarks at a UK-Canada relationship conference in January 2020.[2] On 6 July 2020, the UK government introduced its first designations under its newly independent sanctions regime, which applies to 49 individuals and organisations.[3]

Secondly, this commitment could also refer to international trade agreements the UK is negotiating and may come into force after December 2020,[4] the date that marks the end of the transition period for the UK’s exit from the EU. Specifically, the UK’s priority is to launch negotiations with the EU, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, as well as considering joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).[5] Including explicit references to anti-corruption and transparency measures, “such as explicit references to international anti-corruption conventions, commitments to criminalise active and passive bribery, non-criminal sanctions for firms where they are not subject to criminal liability, and whistleblower protection” is a widely recognised way to effectively counter corruption nationally and internationally.[6]

We do not consider either of these commitments to be measurable because they neither outline specific actions the UK will undertake nor specify identifiable indicators of progress.

[1] Smith, B and Dawson, J., Magnitsky Legislation in the UK, 13 July 2020,

[2] Foreign Secretary’s speech at a press conference with the Canadian Foreign Ministry, 9 January 2020,

[3] UK Announces First Sanctions Under New Global Human Rights Regime, 7 July 2020,

[4] The UK’s Trade Agreements,

[5] UK Announces First Sanctions Under New Global Human Rights Regime, 7 July 2020,

[6] Jenkins, M., Anti-Corruption and Transparency Provisions in Trade Agreements, 20 July 2018,

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