DIT launches engagement drive to inform trade plans

Liz Truss says new groups will bring trade unions and civil society “closer to discussions”
Parliament TV

By Richard Johnstone

16 Oct 2020

The Department for International Trade has kicked off a new engagement programme intended ensure the views of trade unions and civil society groups are represented in the forthcoming round of post-Brexit trade deals.

International trade secretary Liz Truss today launched a trade union advisory group intended to advise government on how to protect and advance workers’ interests in forthcoming trade talks with New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

The department also announced that its existing Strategic Trade Advisory Group  – or STAG –  was being relaunched with expanded membership to reflect the UK economy and ensure a wider range of voices are represented.

The new trade union advisory group is separate from STAG and Trade Advisory Groups, and will contribute to DIT’s work in formulating trade policy. It will be chaired by trade minister Ranil Jayawardena.

Meanwhile, the revamped STAG will hold its first meeting today and will feature new civil society representatives, including a new environment and climate representative, and more “nationwide” business representatives from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Truss said: “I want our trade policy to benefit workers, the environment, business and families, and for every person and company in the country to feel fully engaged as we become an independent trading nation once again.

“That is why today I am stepping up engagement with trade unions and civil society organisations to bring them closer to discussions and ensure all voices are heard. Listening to a wider range of interests will ultimately help us strike better trade deals and drive economic growth across all parts of the country, resulting in more highly-skilled jobs, more opportunities and more prosperity for British people.”

DIT will also hold a series of round-table events with civil society groups to hear their views and concerns, with the first of the series taking place today. The meetings will cover issues like the environment, sustainability, development and gender as they relate to trade policy.

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