Last reviewed 8 June 2020

International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, has appointed three HM Trade Commissioners (HMTCs) to operate across China and Hong Kong, South Asia and Europe.

They will, she explained, champion British trade with some of the UK’s biggest economic partners, as the coronavirus crisis highlights just how important it is to keep trade flowing and supply chains open.

The HMTCs will cooperate closely with Ambassadors and High Commissioners, the wider diplomatic network, and other government colleagues based in countries in their region.

CEO of the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council, Alan Gemmell, has been appointed as HMTC for South Asia while Consul-General in Shanghai, John Edwards, becomes HMTC for China and Hong Kong.

The previous HM Trade Commissioner for China, Richard Burn, has been appointed temporarily to the role of HMTC Europe.

Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Trade (DIT), Antonia Romeo, said: “They all have proven expertise and experience in supporting British businesses to export and grow internationally, and attracting inward investment into the UK. At this time, this work is more important than ever.”

In 2019, the total trade in goods and services between the UK and South Asia was £30 billion, an increase of 9.9% or £2.7 billion compared to 2018; and the total trade in goods and services between the UK and China and Hong Kong was £104.6 billion, an increase of 16% or £14.4 billion compared to 2018.

HMTC for China and Hong Kong, John Edwards, said: “Our bilateral trade with China and Hong Kong broke £100 billion for the first time in 2019 with our exports to China growing faster than any other global region. Regions across the UK also continue to benefit from Chinese investment — more than any other country in Europe.”