Government to invest in trade capability

The government is planning to rapidly build its trade capability by hiring up to 300 specialist staff, including new trade negotiators, by the end of the year.

Business secretary Sajid Javid confirmed the plans as part of an announcement of preliminary trade talks with India, saying that following the referendum result, his “absolute priority is making sure the UK has the tools it needs to continue to compete on the global stage”.

With regard the talks with India, Javid used meetings with Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to outline his vision for what a future trade relationship between the UK and India might look like outside the EU.

It is the first in a series of trade meetings the Business Secretary will conduct over the coming months, which also is expected to include trips to the USA, China, Japan and South Korea.

As part of the discussions, the Business Secretary is expected to make clear that he would like the UK and India to have a trade agreement in place as soon as possible after the UK leaves the EU.