March 14, 2018 / 5:00 PM / 9 days ago

Commonwealth says likely to miss trillion dollar trade target

LONDON (Reuters) - The Commonwealth is likely to miss its target of $1 trillion (716.33 billion pounds) of trade between its members by 2020, the head of the 53-nation body said on Wednesday, blaming the global economy and predicting a figure of around $700 billion instead.

FILE PHOTO - Patricia Scotland, Secretary-General Designate of the commonwealth, speaks during the opening session of a Public Lecture on Nigeria and the commonwealth of Nations in Abuja, Nigeria February 18, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

The announcement comes ahead of a Commonwealth Heads of Government summit in London in April, which will seek to boost the network made up of mostly former British colonies, including India, Australia and Canada.

“The growth is slightly slower than we thought it was going to be because the global market has slowed down,” Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland told reporters. “We hoped it would be about a trillion by 2020 - the estimate now is it’s probably going to be about 700 billion.”

The $1 trillion target had previously been talked up by British ministers as the country looks to find new avenues for trade as it prepares to leave the European Union.

Scotland said initiatives to encourage better use of ocean and other natural resources could have a positive effect on trade between Commonwealth states that was hard to predict.

Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison

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