Last reviewed 12 June 2019

Representatives from businesses and interest groups have met for the first time to discuss the UK’s future trade strategy with the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Chaired by George Hollingbery, the Minister for Trade Policy, the UK’s Strategic Trade Advisory Group will regularly convene to advise the Government on the UK’s new independent trade policy after Brexit.

This includes advising on new trade agreements with the United States, Australia and New Zealand, as well as potentially joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Mr Hollingbery explained.

The Group was established in April 2019 following a public expression of interest by the Government in July 2018. The expression of interest set out the selection procedure and selection criteria against which applications would be assessed including evidence of relevant experience and expertise.

Those chosen include CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn, Dr Scott Steedman of the British Standards Institution, Michael Gidney from the Fair Trade Foundation and the Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Mike Cherry.

At this inaugural meeting, the Group discussed market access and DIT’s strategy for engaging with interested parties on trade policy.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox said: “British businesses create jobs through exports and investment across the UK, so it’s crucial that any future trade deals work for them. That’s why I’m delighted that a range of business and civil society groups will be advising on a new independent trade policy that works for people across the whole of the UK.”

He described the chance to establish closer trading partnerships and negotiating ambitious trade agreements with the United States, Australia and New Zealand as a top priority and “a golden opportunity”.