Department for International Trade's new top team of negotiators to cover 'all corners of the globe'

Tue 15 Feb 2022
Posted by: Noelle McElhatton
Trade News


The Department for International Trade has unveiled a top trade negotiating team for 2022, which it has billed as a five-star year for trade.

According to DIT, the latest line-up of chief trade negotiators “will be going into bat for Global Britain to strike ambitious new trade deals across the world”.

Chief trade negotiators have been announced for key trade markets where the UK is hoping to strike trade deals, including Canada, Mexico, the Gulf (GCC), and the Asia-Pacific, in the form of CPTPP membership.

Making new deals

The DIT describes chief trade negotiators as “bastions for free and fair trade” charged with:

  • leading negotiating teams to broker new deals
  • opening dynamic new markets for exporters
  • levelling up the UK by boosting enterprise

Many of the chief trade negotiators appointed helped secure post-Brexit roll over trade deals with 70 countries which were worth £766bn last year.

International trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Our chief trade negotiators will be going to every corner of the globe to promote and secure free and fair trade, ensuring the UK is once again a trailblazing, deal-making nation.”

Build skills

Following Brexit, the UK had to beef up its trade negotiation capacity, hiring New Zealander Crawford Falconer in 2017 as head of profession for trade negotiators to oversee the task, reported Civil Service World.

Although civil servants had always worked on trade policy, the EU had direct responsibility for negotiating trade deals with the rest of the world.

This means that, as the Institute for Government highlighted, a key challenge for the DIT has been  to build and retain, a cadre of specialist trade negotiators, rather than lose them to other departments after three-year postings in trade negotiating teams.

Speaking of the opportunity to work in trade, Falconer said: “International trade is the backbone of the modern economic world and for the first time in over forty years the UK will have an independent trade policy. I don’t think there has ever been a more exciting time to work in trade.”

Homegrown talent

As well as recruiting and retaining senior trade negotiators, DIT has embarked on a programme to find the train the negotiators of tomorrow, as previously covered in the IOE&IT’s Daily Update.

Applications were recently sought for the second programme to recruit trainee trade negotiators for a two-year training programme to become part of the team negotiating future trade deals, developing trade policy, supporting businesses in exporting, and attracting investors to the UK.

Who's who: DIT's new chief trade negotiators

New Zealand Matt Davies

CPTPP Graham Zebedee

Mexico & Canada Charlotte Heyes

India Harjinder Kang

US & Singapore Graham Floater

GCC Tom Wintle

Israel James Clarke