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LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission

The LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission, a LSE IDEAS initiative, is a forum for informed strategic discussion and evaluation of the future of the UK’s economic diplomacy.

After leaving the European Union in January 2020, the UK will be setting its own trade policies for the first time since 1973, and would need to explicitly set out the aims of trade and associated foreign investment policies for the first time in four decades.

The LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission aims to interrogate the questions surrounding the policy choices made by the UK government. It will specifically focus on foreign economic policy and how such policies will affect both UK society and economy.

Our Commissioners explain why the EDC is important.

The Commission

The Commission includes a number of the country's leading academics and experienced practitioners from a wide range of subjects. Bringing together academics and policymakers is a core strength of LSE IDEAS, and the calibre of Commissioners who have agreed to serve demonstrates the immense interest in this project.

Events and Activities

  • 30 June 2021: Professor Linda Yueh speaks at “The Global Post-Pandemic Context: Challenges and Opportunities for Economic Diplomacy” at the Virtual Forum on Economic Diplomacy in the Global Post Pandemic Environment organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peru. Watch the panel here.

  • 17 June 2021: Professor Linda Yueh chairs a panel on "From Economic Diplomacy to Economic Statecraft: A New Mercantilism in an Era of De-Globalisation?” at the virtual forum, A New Diplomacy for the Emerging Global Binary: Digitalisation, Pandemics and the Search for a Reset, organised by the Brussels School of Governance and LSE IDEAS.

  • 16 June 2021: Stephen Paduano has written an article in the Financial Times on stress-testing supply chains. This is the third recommendation from the LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission's Final Report. Read "Stress-testing supply chains is key to a durable global recovery" in the Financial Times here.

  • 19 May 2021: Professor Linda Yueh gives oral evidence on the The G7 and International Trade to the International Trade Committee inquiry, House of Commons, UK Parliament.

  • 18 May 2021: Professor Linda Yueh gives oral evidence on Multilateral Cooperation and the UK's Economic Relationship with China to the International Relations and Defence Committee inquiry, House of Lords, UK Parliament.

  • 5 May 2021: Dr Swati Dhingra, Dr Robert Falkner and Professor Linda Yueh gave a Civil Service Trade Faculty Masterclass on the Commission’s Final Report, which was jointly organised by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

  • 1 March 2021: Professor Linda Yueh has written an article in the Financial Times based on the first recommendation of the Commission’s Final Report. You can read the op-ed, “Post-Brexit UK should craft itself as a services trading hub", here.

  • 17 February 2021: The Final Report was launched in the U.S. at a joint virtual event with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Professor Linda Yueh and Professor Michael Cox spoke alongside Dame Karen Pierce, British Ambassador to the United States, Robert Zoellick, former President of the World Bank and U.S. Trade Representative, and Rozlyn Engel, non-resident scholar in the Geoeconomics and Strategy Program at Carnegie. The webinar was moderated by Gideon Rachman, Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator for the Financial Times. Watch the event here.

  • 11 February 2021: Professor Linda Yueh is interviewed by Gideon Rachman on his Financial Times podcast about the Commission’s recommendations, alongside Dr Robin Niblett, Director of Chatham House. Listen here.

  • 9 February 2021The Final Report was launched at a virtual event with Professor Linda Yueh, Professor Michael Cox and Stephen Paduano presenting the Commission’s work. They were joined for reactions from Lord Mark Sedwill, Chair of the G7 Panel on Global Economic Security, former Cabinet Secretary and National Security Adviser, and Dr Adam Marshall, Director-General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC). Catch up on the event.

  • 31 October 2020: Professor Linda Yueh speaks about her work as Chair of the LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission in The Beverage Report podcast of the LSE Economics Department. Listen here.

  • 27 August 2020: The conduct of economic diplomacy must adapt. Professor Linda Yueh writes about the framework for economic diplomacy in the 21st century in an LSE IDEAS Strategic Update. Click here to read it.

  • 1 July 2020: Professor Linda Yueh discusses the future of globalisation and the UK’s role alongside the UK Secretary of State for International Trade The Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP and economist Dr Gerard Lyons at TheCityUK webinar. Watch it by clicking here.

  • 16 June 2020: Joint LSE IDEAS and Chatham House webinar which marked the mid-point of the Commission’s work. Watch Professors Linda Yueh and Michael Cox discuss with Chatham House’s Creon Butler, moderated by Dr Leslie Vinjamuri, the Commission’s findings so far and what is to come. Click here to watch the event recording.

  • 15 May 2020: Linda Yueh writes a blog post for LSE's British Politics and Policy blog that asks how we can boost productivity and help the economy grow during a period of social distancing. She calls for an urgent need for government and business investment in technology. Read it by clicking here.

  • 12 May 2020: Does globalisation face an existential threat? Michael Cox, Peter Watkins and Linda Yueh ask this in a blog post for #LSEThinks. They also discuss this in a podcast, which you can listen to by clicking here.

  • 1 May 2020: The Economic Diplomacy Commission and LSE IDEAS' Global Strategies Project submitted written evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee regarding the FCO’s role in blocking foreign asset stripping in the UK. Click here to read it.

  • 30 April 2020: Part of LSE’s series on COVID-19: The Policy Response. With nations protecting their borders and even limiting some trade, this event with Professor Linda Yueh and Peter Watkins, moderated by Professor Michael Cox, explored whether will this accelerate a move toward de-globalisation. Watch the event recording on YouTube.

  • 1 October 2019: Launch of the LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission at an event featuring the former World Bank President Bob Zoellick and former UK Minister for Trade and Investment, Lord Stephen Green alongside the Chair of the Commission, Professor Linda Yueh, and moderated by Professor Michael Cox, Director of LSE IDEAS.

Final Report

Download the PDF:

UK Economic Diplomacy in the 21st Century

The UK finds itself on challenging global terrain, but the 21st century world economy also offers significant opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S.-China trade war, the new relationship with the European Union, the challenges to the multilateral system, and the broader economic trends of the fast growth of services and digital trade require a new and ambitious economic diplomacy agenda. This agenda should encompass a clearly defined and consistently applied framework that sets the UK’s trade and investment policies in alignment with its foreign and domestic policies—and that takes particular care to mitigate the distributional consequences of its international economic policies to address the backlash against globalisation.

The LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission makes the below proposals. They are set in the context of the UK’s support for an open multilateral trading system and a rules-based international order, which have contributed to prosperity and growth. The three broad themes of the Report encompass the setting of the UK’s trade and investment policy which includes multilateral efforts (recommendations 1-3), its global role which includes promoting international cooperation (recommendations 4-6), and institutional reforms in the UK to support its refined economic diplomacy framework (recommendations 7-10).

Trade and Investment Policy

1. Establish the UK as a global hub for services

2. Include non-economic tracks in trade negotiations

3. Designate and stress test systemically important supply chains

The UK’s Global Role

4. Partnerships for global rules and standards

5. Support global public goods

6. Leadership in climate diplomacy and green markets

Institutional Changes

7. Conduct impact assessment of trade/investment proposals

8. Upgrade trade adjustment assistance

9. Decentralise policies around foreign direct investment (FDI)

10. Expand institutional capacity for the conduct of economic diplomacy

Evidence Sessions

The Commission held a total of nine evidence sessions to ascertain and refine how the UK should conduct its economic diplomacy, hearing evidence from exports both from a cross the United Kingdom and the world.

Session 1 included three evidence sessions in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh. The panels examined fundamental questions about the UK’s foreign economic policy: How and by whom should economic diplomacy be formulated? With what scrutiny should foreign economic policy preferences be decided? How should future negotiations be conducted? These hearings set the foundation for evaluating the UK’s foreign economic policy in the 21st century.

Read Interim Report #1 by clicking here.

Session 2 examined the options for Britain’s economic future and diplomacy: What is the best design for a modern trade agreement? What should be the UK’s role in the 21st century global economy?

Read Interim Report #2 by clicking here.

Session 3 asked: How should economic policy interact with other government policies - environment, human rights, international development, defence and security and the overarching framework of foreign policy? Where are the tensions between these policies? How can economic diplomacy goals be coherently reconciled with other government aims?

Read Interim Report #3 by clicking here.

Session 4 examined the impact of COVID-19 on the UK’s economic diplomacy, asking: How has the pandemic affected the global and the UK economy? What longer-term impact will COVID-19 have on the UK’s foreign economic policy?

Read Interim Report #4 by clicking here.

Session 5 looked at how economic diplomacy should be conducted. Does the current policymaking structure work? What lessons can we learn from other OECD nations?

Read Interim Report #5 by clicking here.

Session 6 looked at what the impact of economic diplomacy is across the UK, across its regions, and sectors of the economy. What are the distributional impacts in terms of effects on wages, employment; nations; sectors of the economy? What are the political impacts in terms of how globalisation affects political sentiment and populism?

Read Interim Report #6 by clicking here.

Session 7 looked at how strategic interests and alliances should be assessed, e.g. US, China, EU? What should be within the framework for setting the UK’s economic diplomacy?

Read Interim Report #7 by clicking here.

Feedback and comments on the Interim Reports are welcome. Please email them to


Linda Yueh 2

Professor Linda Yueh
Chair of the LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission
Linda Yueh is Visiting Professor at LSE IDEAS and Chair of the LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission. She also serves on the Policy Committee of the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE. She is Fellow in Economics, St Edmund Hall, University of Oxford and Adjunct Professor of Economics, London Business School. She was Visiting Professor of Economics at Peking University. Professor Yueh is the Editor of the Routledge Series on Economic Growth and Development and the author of numerous books, including China’s Growth: The Making of an Economic Superpower and The Great Economists: How Their Ideas Can Help Us Today.


Professor Michael Cox
Michael Cox is Co-Founder and Director of LSE IDEAS. He was appointed to a Chair at LSE in 2002, having previously held positions in the UK at The Queen's University of Belfast and the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth. He helped establish the Cold War Studies Centre at the LSE in 2004 and later co-founded LSE IDEAS in 2008. He has served as Chair of the United States Discussion Group at Chatham House, as Senior Fellow at the Nobel Institute in Oslo, as Visiting Professor at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies in Canberra, Australia, and as Chair of the European Consortium for Political Research. An established public intellectual who has lectured on world politics on every continent, his most recent books include a new edition of E. H. Carr’s, The Twenty Years’ Crisis (Palgrave, 2016), a 3rd edition of his co-edited best-selling volume US Foreign Policy (Oxford University Press, 2018), and a collection of his own original essays, The Post-Cold War World (Routledge, 2019). His new definitive introduction to the centennial edition of J. M. Keynes’s 1919 classic, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, was published in 2019.


Professor Christopher Coker
Christopher Coker is Professor of International Relations at LSE and Director of LSE IDEAS. His publications include Men at War: what fiction has to tell us about conflict from the Iliad to Catch 22 (Hurst, 2014); The Improbable War: China, the US and the logic of Great Power War (Hurst, 2015); Future War (Polity, 2016). His most recent book is The Rise of the Civilizational State (Polity, 2019). He is a former twice-serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, a former NATO Fellow and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.

Swati Dhingra sq

Professor Swati Dhingra
Swati Dhingra is an Associate Professor of Economics at LSE, researching globalisation and industrial policy. She is co-author of the recent “Life after Brexit” report published by the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance, which looks at the UK’s options outside of the EU. She is also Associate Editor of the Journal of International Economics. Swati was awarded the FIW Young Economist Award and the Chair Jacquemin Award by the European Trade Study Group for her work on firms and globalisation. Swati's work has informed bodies such as the Parliamentary International Trade Committee, CBI, Treasury, Social Enterprise UK, Credit Suisse and Sunderland City Council, and has featured in the media, including outlets such as the BBC, Foreign Affairs, Financial Times, The Economist, The Times and Business Standard.

Martin Donnelly sq

Sir Martin Donnelly
Martin Donnelly has wide experience as a senior policy official and negotiator across government in the UK and Europe. He was Permanent Secretary of the Department of Business Innovation and Skills from 2010 to 2016, leading work on the UK's Industrial Strategy. Following the 2016 referendum he set up the Department of International Trade and left the civil service in 2017.

Saul Estrin sq

Professor Saul Estrin
Saul Estrin is a Professor of Managerial Economics and Strategy and the founding Head of the Department of Management. He was formerly Adecco Professor of Business and Society at London Business School where he was the Director of the CIS Middle Europe Centre and Research Director of the Centre for New and Emerging Markets. At LSE he is affiliated with the Centre for Economic Performance and was the Research Director of the Entrepreneurship Institute. Saul’s research has long focused on the micro economics of comparative economic systems, with early interests in state owned firms, labour-managed firms, planning, and socialist economies. In recent years, he has concentrated on international business strategy issues and entrepreneurship.

Kishwer Falkner sq

Baroness Falkner of Margravine
Kishwer Falkner entered the House of Lords in 2004, where she is currently Chairman of the EU Sub-Committee on Financial Services, and a Member of the EU Select Committee. Her committee has published reports on Brexit: Financial Services, Brexit and the EU Budget, Brexit: the future of financial regulation and supervision and Brexit: The European Investment Bank.  She led on Foreign Affairs for the Liberal Democrats during the Coalition Government from 2010-2015 and has served on several parliamentary committees including the Constitution Committee, the Joint Committee on Human Rights; the European Union Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and International Development and the Committee on International Organisations.

Robert Falkner sq

Dr Robert Falkner
Robert Falkner is an Associate Professor of International Relations at LSE, with a focus on global environmental politics and international political economy. He serves as the Research Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the Academic Director of the TRIUM Global Executive MBA at LSE. He was a visiting scholar at Harvard University and is an Associate Fellow of Chatham House. In 2018 he was appointed Distinguished Fellow at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. His research has been supported by the ESRC, European Commission, MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and Stiftung Mercator, among others.

Stephen Machin sq

Professor Stephen Machin
Stephen Machin is Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE. Previously he has been Professor of Economics at UCL and Visiting Professor at Harvard University and MIT. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, has been President of the European Association of Labour Economists, is a Fellow of the Society of Labor Economists and was an independent member of the UK Low Pay Commission from 2007-13. His current research interests include inequality, education, and crime, and the interactions between them.

Nick MacPherson sq

Lord Macpherson of Earl’s Court GCB
Nick Macpherson was Permanent Secretary of the Treasury for over ten years, leading the Treasury through the financial and wider economic crisis which began in 2007.‎ Nick joined the Treasury in 1985, after training as an economist at Oxford University and University College, London, and working at the Confederation of British Industry and Peat Marwick consulting. He was Principal Private Secretary to Ken Clarke and Gordon Brown in the mid 1990s, and went on to head the public spending and tax sides of the Treasury. Nick is Chairman of Hoare's Bank, a Director of the Scottish American Investment Trust and British Land and a Visiting Professor at King's College, London. He sits as a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords.

Guy Monson sq

Guy Monson
Guy Monson, CIO and Senior Partner of Sarasin & Partners LLP, who has over 30 years of investment experience, joined the company in 1984. In 1988, he became manager of Sarasin’s flagship GlobalSar family of balanced investment funds, winning awards for investment performance and risk profile. He has pioneered the use of thematic investment in the management of global equity portfolios and today leads the firm’s global investment and markets strategy for a wide range of charitable, endowment and private clients.  He co-manages Sarasin’s Global Higher Dividend and Global Equity Opportunities Funds. Guy writes regularly in the international financial press and appears on Bloomberg and other financial channels. Among other responsibilities, he is a Trustee of the Invictus Games Foundation, and the Chatsworth House Trust.  He is also a member of the London School of Economics Ideas Board.

Richard Mottram sq

Sir Richard Mottram GCB
Richard Mottram is Chair of the Advisory Board of LSE IDEAS and a Visiting Professor in the LSE’s Department of Government. He was formerly a civil servant, and for much of his career worked on international security policy and defence strategy. From 1992-2007 he held a number of permanent secretary posts, including of the Ministry of Defence and in the Cabinet Office as permanent secretary for intelligence, security, and resilience and chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee. Since 2007 he has had a number of roles in the public, private and third sectors.

Charles Powell sq

Lord Powell of Bayswater KCMG
Charles Powell was Private Secretary and Adviser on foreign affairs and defence to Lady Thatcher, and held the same position in the early part of John Major’s time as Prime Minister. Prior, Powell was a diplomat serving in the US, Germany, and at the UK Representation to the EU. Since leaving the civil service in 1992, he has been an international businessman and board member of several major international companies including Louis Vuitton Moet-Hennessy, the Jardine Matheson Group, Caterpillar and the Northern Trust Corporation, and on the Advisory Boards of Rolls-Royce, Barrick Gold and Chubb. Since 2000 he has been a cross-bench member of the House of Lords and of Parliament’s Joint National Security Strategy Committee. Among other roles, he is Chairman of the Trustees of the Saïd Business School at Oxford University, Chairman of the British Museum Trust, and a Trustee of the Aspen Institute. He is Honorary Fellow of Somerville College Oxford, of King’s College London and of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

Gideon Rachman sq

Gideon Rachman
Gideon Rachman is Chief Foreign Affairs columnist for the Financial Times (FT). He writes regularly about the European Union, US foreign policy and geopolitical rivalries in Asia, among other subjects. He won the Orwell Prize for political journalism in 2016 and was also named as Commentator of the Year in the European Press Prize awards in the same year. His book “Easternisation – War and Peace in the Asian Century” was published in August 2016. A previous book “Zero-Sum World” was published by in 2011 and has been translated into eight languages. Before joining the FT in 2006, he worked for The Economist for 15 years in a range of jobs, including as a foreign correspondent in Brussels, Bangkok, and Washington.

Susan Scholefield sq

Susan Scholefield CMG
Susan Scholefield worked for some 30 years in the British Civil Service, with senior roles in the Cabinet Office, Northern Ireland Office, Communities Department and Ministry of Defence. She was awarded the CMG in 1999 for her work on Bosnia. After the civil service, she became Secretary and Chief Legal Officer at LSE. She now has a portfolio career of non-executive director and voluntary roles, is a member of the Advisory Board of LSE IDEAS, the Royal United Services Institute, and the Institute of Directors, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and Visiting Professor at Surrey University.


Dr Leslie Vinjamuri
Leslie Vinjamuri is Head of the US & the Americas Programme and Dean of the Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs at Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs. She is a Reader (Associate Professor) in International Relations at SOAS. From 2010-2018 she founded and was Co-Director then Director of the Centre on Conflict, Rights and Justice at SOAS. Dr Vinjamuri writes and speaks about America’s role in the world, international security, intervention, and geopolitics. She is an editor of Human Rights Futures (Cambridge University Press, 2017) and has published numerous articles in leading journals. Dr Vinjamuri is a Marshall Commissioner and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is on the Board of the Institute for Integrated Transitions. From 2015-2018, she was a member of the Council (a "trustee") of Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs. 

Helen Wallace sq

Professor Dame Helen Wallace DBE CMG FBA
Helen Wallace is a political scientist whose research has focused on the politics of European integration. She is an Honorary Professor at the University of Sussex. She has held appointments at LSE, European University Institute, Florence Sussex European Institute, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and the College of Europe. She was Director of the ESRC "One Europe or Several?" Programme. She became a Fellow of the British Academy in 2000, was Chair of the Political Studies Section and then its Foreign Secretary (2011 to 2015). She became a Dame in January 2011.

Stephen Woolcock sq

Dr Stephen Woolcock
Stephen Woolcock has taught international political economy, trade and economic diplomacy at LSE since 1999. Before joining LSE, he worked on trade and EU policy at Chatham House and for the private sector. In 1999, he established the International Trade Policy Unit at LSE to bridge the gap between academic and policy work. His ongoing research has been on the regulation of integrating markets, especially in the context of preferential and multilateral trade and investment agreements. He has served as a consultant to the European Parliament, European Commission, OECD, Commonwealth Secretariat, the UK and other governments.  


Linda Yueh 2

Professor Linda Yueh is Chair of the LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission and Visiting Professor at LSE IDEAS.

Gidon Gautel 2

Gidon Gautel is Project Manager of the LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission.

Stephen Paduano

Stephen Paduano is the Executive Director of the LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission.


Inga Runarsdottir is a Research Assistant for the LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission.

Alisa Wadsworth

Alisa Wadsworth is a Research Intern for the LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission.

Rob Whittle

Robert Whittle is a Project Assistant for the LSE Economic Diplomacy Commission. 


 Additional Activities


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