IFT (formerly Institute for Free Trade)


The IFT is a thinktank that pushes “the moral case for open commerce”. It was originally launched as the Institute for Free Trade in September 2017, with a launch event held in the Foreign Office.

It had to drop the word 'institute' from its name after an inquiry by Companies House, with all references to 'institute' removed from its website. It is now officially registered as IFT Ltd, having previously been registered as the Initiative for International Trade Ltd.

The IFT is based at 57 Tufton Street, sharing an office with the anti-renewables thinktank the Centre for Policy Studies, and next door to many of the organisations DeSmog UK previously revealed to be at the heart of a UK climate science denial network in 55 Tufton Street.

The IFT's president is Tory MEP and Brexit campaigner Daniel Hannan, who last year spoke at an event hosted by US thinktank the Heritage Foundation — a US thinktank known for opposing climate action and environmental regulations and was at the heart of Donald Trump's transition team in the weeks before he became president.

Key Quotes

October 2017

Writing in the International Business Times ahead of the IFT's inaugural Global Trade Summit, Daniel Hannan said:

“Free trade is what lifted us above the run of nations and, in the process, lifted others. It is one of those delightful things – along with smiles and kisses – that enriches both parties. It is time we recovered our global vocation.”

Key Deeds

December 2017

The IFT drops the word 'institute' from its name after an inquiry by Companies House. Use of the word 'institute' in an organisation's title is protected by law and reserved for those “that typically undertake research at the highest level, or are professional bodies of the highest standing”. Companies House and the business secretary must give permission for it to be used. 

October 2017

The IFT held its inaugural Global Trade Summit in London. Matt Ridley chaired a panel entitled “the best ideas in economics” where Mark J Perry, a scholar at the DC-based thinktank the American Enterprise Institute participated.

September, 2017

The IFT was launched at the Foreign Office by foreign secretary Boris Johnson and trade secretary Liam Fox. Both have links to a transatlantic climate disinformation network. Also in attendance were journalists from journalists from The Times, The Sun, Telegraph and Spectator, as well as the editor of BrexitCentral. Icelandic foreign minister Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson also spoke at the event.

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