Details emerge of DIT’s new global ‘fair trade’ watchdog

Written by Jim Dunton on 3 August 2017 in News
News

Department begins recruiting for post-Brexit arm’s length body

International trade secretary Liam Fox Credit: PA

The Department for International Trade is setting up a new fair-trade watchdog to “investigate and tackle” incidents of restrictive and uncompetitive practices once the UK leaves the European Union, it has emerged.

Civil Service World revealed earlier this week that the government believes more than 20 new public bodies are likely to be required to carry out regulatory and other functions that are currently undertaken collectively by the EU.

But the creation of arm’s length body the UK Trade Remedies Organisation – revealed through a job advertisement for a Grade 7 digital design lead – is one of the first to be confirmed.


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According to DIT, the UK’s anticipated operation of a post-Brexit independent trade policy will require the ability to investigate issues such as dumped or subsidised imports that potentially threaten domestic industries and undermine the case for free and open trade.

It said such concerns were shared by all major World Trade Organisation members, adding: “We need to develop the UK's approach to tackling allegations of unfair competition and build the capability and capacity to investigate complaints and enforce the rules.”

DIT said the Trade Remedies Organisation would be underpinned by detailed legislation set to be introduced to parliament in the Trade Bill next month.

“Following the completion of primary and secondary legislation, we are currently working on the basis that this new organisation will need to be operational by October 2018 in order to take on new investigations from UK producers, which would otherwise be concluded by the EU authorities after the UK has left the EU,” it said.

“This is a challenging deadline and the Trade Remedies Implementation Team is being formed to ensure this is effectively delivered on time.

“The implementation team will work closely with the team creating the legislation and the policy framework for the trade remedies system to ensure that the legislation, policy, design and delivery of the new system are all aligned.”

According to the DIT’s job advertisement, the Trade Remedies Implementation Team will be responsible for designing the organisation and ensuring that its governance arrangements comply with Cabinet Office and HM Treasury guidance.

It said the team would be responsible for recruiting around 130 staff and “designing and delivering a bespoke training programme”, a stakeholder communications and engagement plan; and programme management of the overall delivery of the new organisation.

CSW reported on Monday that Cabinet Office minister Chris Skidmore expected more than 20 new public bodies to be created as part of the UK’s move away from the European Union. He said there would be a drive to see them located in the regions rather than Whitehall.

Ministers had previously indicated that a number of new public bodies would need to be created to carry out regulatory and other governmental functions that are currently carried out at the European level once Britain leaves the bloc, but Skidmore's steer was one of the first public indications of how many would be required.

Despite the predicted regional distribution for the new bodies, the digital-design lead job advertisement related to the Trade Remedies Organisation said the role would be London-based.

Details for the job said it was being offered on a two-year fixed-term contract with an upper salary limit of £56,370.

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