New trade group forms to shape “future trade policy”

A number of business groups and bodies have been selected to play a major new role in trade after the UK leaves the EU.

The Department for International Trade said members of the new Strategic Trade Advisory Group (STAG) have been named this month to advise the Government on “future strategic trade policy issues”, including on future trade agreements with the USA, Australia and New Zealand.

The group is made up of 16 core members including representatives from trade union Trade Union Congress, business bodies the Confederation of British Industry and the Chambers of Commerce, consumer group Which? and think tank Centre for European Reform.

According to the report, members will meet at least four times a year to help “shape the future of trade policy” and “realise opportunities across all nations and regions of the UK through high-level strategic discussion”.

Commenting on the group’s purpose, Minister for Trade Policy George Hollingbery said: “The UK has a golden opportunity to forge stronger trading relationships with some of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world as we leave the European Union.

“We will approach all trade negotiations in a transparent and inclusive way and the Strategic Trade Advisory Group will help us to secure new trade agreements that increase prosperity across the whole of the UK.”

Earlier this month, it was also revealed that UK exports grew faster to non-EU countries than to the EU in 2018, “confirming demand for UK goods and services”.

The ONS figures show that during the year to December 2018, UK exports grew 19.3 per cent in India, followed closely by Japan (7.9 per cent), China (4.6 per cent), and Canada (4.2 per cent) – all faster than the recorded 3.6 per cent growth in UK exports to the EU.

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