Minister for International Trade, Conor Burns, chaired his first meeting of the Strategic Advisory Group today (Tuesday 10 September).

This is the second meeting of the representatives from business and interest groups who regularly convene to advise the government on the UK’s new independent trade policy as we leave the EU.

Minister Burns said:

I am delighted to have chaired my first meeting of the Strategic Advisory Group today.

As we take back control of our trade policy, we must make sure it works for households and businesses across the whole of the UK.

This group of experts from across business, civil society and beyond will ensure we’re ready to trade as we seize the opportunities of Brexit.

Today they were informed about the department’s priorities in addition to preparing for Brexit on 31st October – to negotiate new and ambitious free trade agreements, prepare business to trade and focus on attracting investment, specifically through free ports.

The group was also introduced to the work of DIT US trade policy team, the World Trade Organisation and work being done to reduce barriers to trading for businesses.

The group is comprised of 16 representatives from business, trade union and civil society organisations that cover a wide range of interests from all parts of the UK. It will meet at least 4 times a year and membership will be reviewed on a yearly basis.

This is part of the government’s commitment to an inclusive and transparent trade policy that works for all regions and nations of the UK.

They previously met in 6 June and are expected to meet again in the New Year.


The Strategic Trade Advisory Group was established in April 2019 following a public expression of interest by 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.

The group will meet as required but approximately quarterly. DIT will make available the dates and times of the meetings.

Members have been selected to provide a breadth of knowledge and experience across trade policy. Members will serve in a personal capacity to advance the interests of the United Kingdom and will not represent the interests of any specific organisation.

Membership for the period 2019 to 2020 are:

  • Professor Holger Breinlich, University of Surrey, (academia)
  • Carolyn Fairbairn, Confederation of British Industry, (business representative organisation)
  • Gary Campkin, City UK, (services, business representative organization)
  • Dr Scott Steedman CBE, British Standards Institution, (standards)
  • Caroline Normand, Which?, (consumer)
  • Dr Dirk Willem te Velde, Overseas Development Institute, (developmental)
  • Mark Abrams, Trade Finance Global, (new entrant)
  • Michael Gidney, Fair Trade Foundation, (non-government organisations)
  • Nick Coburn CBE, Ulster Carpets, (Northern Ireland business)
  • Denise Valin Alvarez, Burberry, (regional business)
  • Liz Cameron OBE, Scottish Chamber of Commerce, (Scottish business)
  • Sean Ramsden, Ramsden International, (small and medium enterprise)
  • Mike Cherry OBE, Federation of Small Business, (small and medium enterprise, business representative organisation)
  • Sam Lowe, Centre for European Reform, (think tanks)
  • Paul Nowak, Trade Union Congress, (trade unions)
  • Prys Morgan, Kepak Group Limited, (Welsh business)

The group’s purpose is to:

  • Advise on the adequacy and effectiveness of government mechanisms for stakeholder engagement
  • Advise on the practical implementation of trade agreements and measures
  • Perspectives on the government’s discharge of its commitment to transparency and inclusivity in trade policy
  • Suggestions to inform the government’s trade priorities
  • Suggestions to assist the development and delivery of UK trade policy including market access measures.

First seen here: