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Trade negotiators want to Fill Brexit Gap

Trade negotiators Brexit gap

A new generation of UK trade negotiators is to be recruited in an open-access scheme launched by International Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

It follows warnings of a shortage of experienced UK trade negotiators during the Brexit process.

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The training scheme is open to applicants from all backgrounds and levels of qualifications – with the first recruits ready in two years.

The Liberal Democrats dismissed it as a “last-minute scramble”.

Labour’s Barry Gardiner said “only now is the secretary of state realising that the UK needs trained negotiation staff”.

Trade talks

At a launch event at the Harris Westminster Sixth Form school in London, the international trade secretary said being a professional negotiator was a “career option that hasn’t really existed for two generations” – as deal-making has been carried out by the European Union.

The training project, with an initial 12 places, is meant to begin filling the gap, to provide enough home-grown professional negotiators for trade talks for the Brexit process and beyond.

Mr Fox rejected the suggestion that this recruitment drive should have happened earlier – saying his department has been expanding and building capacity.

He said the new recruits would learn the practical skills of international trade talks, including spending time abroad, and would be paid about £30,000 while training.

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“Young people can actually see what global trade looks like, that it’s not a cold negotiating room, it’s how we get market access, how we are helping exporters to get into markets,” said Mr Fox.

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