The British government has pledged to protect current trading relationships by maintaining duty-free exports to the UK market from 48 developing countries including Bangladesh and Ethiopia after the UK leaves the EU.

In 2015, the UK imported £7.8 billion in textiles from developing countries, accounting for 45% of all the UK’s textile and apparel imports.

International development secretary Priti Patel said: “The UK is using its position as a great, global trading nation to seize opportunities to lift countries out of grinding poverty. This will ‎generate the wealth, prosperity and investment needed to create millions of jobs and help the world’s poorest people stand on their own two feet.

“Helping developing countries harness the formidable power of trade means we are not only creating trading partners of the future for UK businesses, but supporting jobs at home too. Building a more prosperous world and supporting our own long-term economic security is firmly in all our interests‎.”