LONDON (Reuters) - After decades outsourcing its trade policy to the European Union, Britain is about to embark on negotiating free trade agreements both with countries around the world and the 27-member bloc it has just left.
Below are some of the key people in the British government who will be involved:
BORIS JOHNSON - PRIME MINISTER
Johnson will make the ultimate decisions over Britain’s future trade relations. He has said he wants a “Canada-style” trade agreement with the EU. He rules out extending the post-Brexit transition period and says Britain will not accept being subject to EU rules.
Johnson is also keen to strike a trade deal with the United States. While President Donald Trump previously promised a “massive” agreement, relations between London and Washington have been strained by Britain’s decision to allow the Chinese telecoms company Huawei [HWT.UL] a role in its mobile network and by a proposed British digital services tax.
DOMINIC CUMMINGS - SENIOR ADVISER TO JOHNSON
While he does not have a specific trade role, Cummings, who masterminded the referendum campaign to leave the EU, is Johnson’s most powerful adviser and has a hand in almost everything that goes on at the heart of government.
MICHAEL GOVE - CABINET MINISTER
Gove is Johnson’s de facto deputy prime minister and led the government’s preparations for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit last year.
His department, the Cabinet Office, is in charge of implementing the exit deal and preparing the country for when a new agreement with the EU comes into force.
Earlier this month he set out the government’s plans to introduce import controls on EU goods at the border and is expected to play a part in talks on the future relationship with the bloc.
DAVID FROST - CHIEF EUROPE ADVISER
Johnson’s Europe adviser Frost will lead the trade negotiations with the EU’s Michel Barnier.
Frost heads a 40-person “Taskforce Europe” team, which includes senior representatives from Britain’s finance ministry and foreign office, and will work with other departments on specific policies.
He has spent much of his career as a diplomat, including as ambassador to Denmark, and worked as an adviser to Johnson when he was foreign minister. He is also a former business lobbyist. Frost played an important role in renegotiating Britain’s EU exit deal last year.
Barrow’s role involves promoting Britain’s interests to EU member states and institutions. Previously described by the government as a “seasoned and tough negotiator”, he was involved in negotiating Britain’s EU divorce deal and will also work on the future relationship talks.
DOMINIC RAAB - FOREIGN MINISTER
Raab’s department will oversee diplomatic engagements around trade negotiations. Earlier this month he visited Australia, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia as part of the government’s efforts to secure free trade deals.
SUELLA BRAVERMAN - ATTORNEY GENERAL
A former head of the hardline pro-Brexit European Research Group of Conservative lawmakers who helped defeat former prime minister Theresa May’s own deal with the EU, Braverman is the government’s top legal adviser and could play a crucial role in Britain’s future relationship with the bloc.
The Sunday Times reported that British officials had been instructed to find a way to circumvent an agreement on how to handle trade between EU member Ireland and British province Northern Ireland, and that Braverman may have to give legal advice to justify the move. It said she was appointed because her predecessor was unwilling to do so. [nL5N2AN077]
LIZ TRUSS - TRADE MINISTER
Truss’s role as Secretary of State for International Trade involves securing new trade agreements, establishing freeports, attracting overseas investment and getting businesses ready to trade outside the EU.
She will not be involved in EU trade talks, instead her priority will be securing a deal with the United States.
CRAWFORD FALCONER - CHIEF TRADE NEGOTIATION ADVISER
Falconer oversees the Department for International Trade’s trade policy and negotiation agenda and led the government’s effort to build up trade expertise.
A dual UK and New Zealand national, he has spent more than 25 years working on trade policy and trade negotiations, including as New Zealand’s Chief Negotiator.
A career diplomat, Braithwaite leads Britain’s engagement at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Previously represented at the Geneva-based trade body by the EU, Britain has now taken up its own independent seat following its departure from the bloc at the end of January.
He has said one of Britain’s priorities in its newly expanded role would be to increase global trade in services.
Britain is now developing its Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff schedule, which will enter into force on Jan. 1, 2021. Under WTO agreements, this must apply to all countries equally, unless there is a separate free trade agreement in place.
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Mark Heinrich