UK proposes new trading system for developing countries

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will praise the benefits of free trade between Commonwealth countries on a visit to Rwanda on Thursday as he proposes a new system for boosting commerce as an alternative to that run by the European Union.

A year and a half after Britain left the EU, Johnson is looking to boost trade with the Commonwealth, a network of 54 countries that are mostly former British colonies.

The Commonwealth, headed by Queen Elizabeth, is not a formal trading bloc with a free-trade agreement. But the network includes about a third of the world's population and some of its fastest-growing economies.

A day before the heads of Commonwealth governments meeting begins in Kigali on Friday, Johnson will say he wants to start a new trade system to reduce costs and simplify rules for 65 developing countries, including many in the Commonwealth.

This will reduce tariffs on foods, clothes and other items by 750 million pounds a year, he will say.