My Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade (Dr Liam Fox MP) has today made the following statement.
This Government is committed to establishing the new UK Trade Remedies Authority (TRA), which will be responsible for providing a safety net to domestic industries after the UK has left the EU.
We have made significant progress so far. The Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act 2018, which sets out the trade remedies framework that the TRA will be responsible for delivering, received Royal Assent on 13 September 2018. In parallel, we are in the process of establishing the TRA as a non-departmental public body through the Trade Bill.
The UK is a strong supporter of free trade. But this does not mean trade without rules. Trade remedy measures support free trade by ensuring it is also based on rules, in accordance with the UK’s international obligations to the World Trade Organisation and our traditions.
We cannot risk leaving UK industry unprotected against these unfair trading practices. That is why it is in our national interest to ensure the TRA is established and appropriately staffed in case we do not negotiate a deal prior to the UK’s departure from the European Union.
I hope all opposition parties in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords will give support to the Trade Bill to ensure that no UK industries, or parts of the UK, are at risk of being left unprotected. On 29 March 2018, the Department secured a technical Ministerial Direction to authorise spending on the implementation of the TRA prior to Royal Assent for the Trade Bill, in line with the guidance issued by the Permanent Secretaries of HM Treasury and the Department for Exiting the European Union as well as the Written Ministerial Statement from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in October 2017.
We have been focused on ensuring that the TRA has the right leadership in place from the start. That is why I am pleased to announce that Sir David Wright, the UK’s former ambassador to both the Republic of Korea and Japan, has been appointed to DIT as TRA Chair Designate. Sir David presents an outstanding profile in international and bilateral trade policy, having served as the first Chief Executive of British Trade International, which later became UK Trade and Investment. He also served as Vice-Chairman of Barclays Capital from 2003 to 2010, and then subsequently as Vice-Chairman of Barclays PLC until his final role as Senior Advisor from 2016 to 2018. Today he is Global Advisor of SMFG, Chairman of Skarbek and Chairman of TheCityUK’s Japan Market Advisory Group.. I am confident that Sir David’s unique experience in international trade, diplomacy and non-executive roles make him the ideal candidate.
Sir David will initially be appointed to DIT as TRA Chair Designate until the Trade Bill receives Royal Assent and the TRA is legally established – which is, of course, subject to the will of Parliament. Once this has taken place, it is my intention that Sir David be formally appointed as TRA Chair. The total length of Sir David’s term – across both roles – will be three years.
I can also announce that Claire Bassett has been recruited to DIT as TRA Chief Executive Designate. Claire offers extensive public body leadership experience, having most recently served as Chief Executive of the Electoral Commission. Prior to that, she has been Chief Executive of the Parole Board for England and Wales and the Criminal Cases Review Commission.
Once the TRA has been legally established, the TRA Chair will be responsible for making a final decision on the appointment of a TRA Chief Executive, subject to my approval. This is consistent with the appointment powers set out in the Trade Bill.
I am also pleased to say that the future TRA’s wider senior leadership team has also now been recruited to DIT – including its Chief Economist, Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel and Joint Chief Investigators. It is our intention that they will be transferred to the TRA once it has been legally established.
Sir David, Claire and the senior leadership team will join the Department’s ‘shadow’ TRA function in its Reading office premises in Northgate House, in the near future. Located in the heart of Reading, Northgate House offers excellent transport links and will enable the TRA to serve the whole of the UK effectively. Reading has one of the highest concentrations of relevant skills in the country and this is in addition to having access to Reading’s university and leading businesses. By securing these office premises now, we have ensured that future TRA staff have a location in which to be properly trained in preparation for the UK’s exit from the EU and the TRA being legally established through Royal Assent of the Trade Bill.