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Economy Economy

Reconvene the Board of Trade

Last updated: 01:05pm 20 November 2019

We will reconvene the Board of Trade with a membership specifically charged with ensuring that we increase exports from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as England, and that trade policy is directly influenced by every part of our United Kingdom.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.15

Our verdict

The Board of Trade is an advisory body created by the Department for International Trade (DIT). It is a committee of the Privy Council, meaning that the only permanent member is the Secretary of State for International Trade. All others on the board are advisers; a mix of politicians and business people. The main job of the Board of Trade is to promote UK regions as trading destinations, so that these are not overlooked in favour of the South – and London in particular – in global trade. This policy seeks to directly address that concern and promote free trade across the UK. It is also part of the DIT’s way of managing private business and public relationships during Brexit.

The Board of Trade was reconvened in October 2017. It contains representatives from all four nations. To date, its work has been hosting meetings and giving awards to business to celebrate outstanding contributions to international trade. Under this government, the board met 7 times. The annual report and accounts of the DIT only mention the Board of Trade to say that it has met, handed out awards, and held a trade and investment seminar in Stirling.

The government reconvened the Board of Trade with representatives from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, confirming the commitment to coordinate trade policy so that it is influenced by all  four nations. As a result, this policy is ‘done’.

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