Money 'Chronic mismanagement' at Liam Fox's trade department could derail May's Brexit plans

13:56  05 june  2018
13:56  05 june  2018 Source:   msn.com

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' Chronic mismanagement ' at Liam Fox ' s trade department could derail May ' s Brexit plans . " Chronic mismanagement " and a "lack of expertise" at the UK government's international trade department risk derailing May ' s plans for Brexit .

Liam Fox reveals trade talks with US set to start NEXT MONTH. Theresa May . He was optimistic that a free trade deal could be done quickly with Britain. Brexit trade talks in pictures: UK Ministers explore potential trade deals.

a man wearing a suit and tie © REUTERS/Peter Summers
  • "Chronic mismanagement" and a "lack of expertise" at the UK government's international trade department risk derailing May's plans for Brexit.
  • A new report from the industry body representing UK shipping is damning about the government's preparations.
  • Maritime UK warns of a "lack of strategic vision and ambition" at the department.
  • The warning comes as May's government struggles to reassure business about their progress on Brexit.

LONDON - "Chronic mismanagement" and a lack of expertise within Liam Fox's trade department could completely derail the government's Brexit trade plans, according to a major intervention from the group which represents Britain's maritime sector.

May faces fresh Tory criticism over her handling of Brexit negotiations

  May faces fresh Tory criticism over her handling of Brexit negotiations Theresa May has been hit with fresh Conservative attacks on her leadership as she attempts to steer the UK through Brexit.Former Cabinet Minister Priti Patel accused the Prime Minister and Chancellor Philip Hammond of “negativity” as they attempt to lead the country out of the European Union. Ms Patel, who quit as International Development Secretary in November over undisclosed and unauthorised meetings in Israel, told The House magazine the Government needed to articulate a “better vision for the future” after Brexit.

And it estimated that Civil Service planning for Brexit could cost taxpayers around £65million a year. Potential rivalries between Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, EU Secretary David Davis and International Trade Secretary Liam Fox could lead to "distraction and delayed work" of the

Liam Fox may never secure the ‘specific trade and negotiation skills’ required Getty. The department charged with securing trade after Brexit is not fit for the role and has been forced to delay projects as it struggles with a skills shortage, a damning report warns today.

Senior figures at Maritime UK, the umbrella body for Britain's shipping, ports, and marine services, warned that there are "far too few industry experts" at the Department of International Trade (DIT) and suggested that the department is in a "worse state now" than it was when it was launched in July 2016.

"We, and countless other sectors, are falling victim to the lack of strategic vision and ambition that seems to be rife in the Department for International Trade," said David Dingle, chairman of Maritime UK.

He said that there is just one dedicated member of frontline staff at DIT promoting the export of the UK's maritime products and services - which range from superyachts to technical equipment and professional services - while other services have significantly more staff dedicated to the same role. The creative sector, for example, has 15 staff promoting its exports.

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Britain's maritime sector moves 95% of Britain's international trade and supports 932,000 jobs, directly employing 185,000 people, Maritime UK said, and Liam Fox has previously suggested the sector would play a crucial part in Britain's post-Brexit success.

"The UK's maritime industry brings billions of pounds a year into our economy and will be vital to our continued prosperity when we leave the European Union," Fox said last year.

"As an international economic department, our ambition is that we lead the way in world-class shipbuilding and maritime technology."

But Ben Murray, director of Maritime UK, said in a statement that there was "a chronic lack of direct industry experience" within the DIT, and criticised the department for hiring trade staff who had not previously worked within the maritime sector.

"While the department has taken steps to take on a new crop of Trade Commissionaires [...] a huge percentage of these are career civil servants," he said.

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They were echoed by US commerce secretary Wilbur Ross who said he was "encouraged" by a meeting with trade secretary Liam Fox . Jacob Rees-Mogg SLAMS 'weak' Theresa May over lack of preparation for a ‘NO-DEAL’ Brexit . Plot to derail Brexit ?

‘Completely false’ Liam Fox ’ s team slams Brexit doom-mongering by Labour' s arch-Remainer. In a scathing statement officials at Liam Fox ’ s department for international trade (DIT) tore into a piece by former Related articles. Lord Adonis warns result could mean Britain STAYS in the single market.

"How can we possibly expect individuals who have spent their lives outside of industry to understand the real requirements of UK business wanting to sell overseas?

"They may well be honest hardworking civil servants but in what way are they qualified to do this? You wouldn't expect a dentist (despite how qualified they were) to fly a Boeing 747."

Watch: June Brexit summit 'unlikely to be a success' (Bloomberg)

In a statement, a DIT spokesperson said: "Our specialist expertise helped the UK's innovative maritime companies to secure hundreds of millions of pounds worth of deals across the globe last year, helping British companies to attend high profile international events such as the Miami International Boat Show and the Dusseldorf boat show in the process."

The department is tasked with striking new trade deals and rolling over existing ones, as well as promoting Britain's exports after Brexit.

May has 'constructive' talks with Brexit minister over backstop

  May has 'constructive' talks with Brexit minister over backstop British Prime Minister Theresa May had "constructive" talks with her Brexit secretary David Davis, whom she expects to be in his post by the end of the day after a reported disagreement, her spokeswoman said on Thursday. The spokeswoman also told reporters that the government would publish its proposals for a backstop plan to ensure no return to a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland shortly. Government sources said that would be today.

Liam Fox wrote to the chancellor last Friday asking for more money © Bloomberg. “The chancellor wants to give the Department of International Trade what he can to ensure that it can do its job and create a The pressure that Brexit is putting on government is showing up across departments .

Liam Fox will urge Britons to confront the “myths and wilful distortions” by anti-free trade lobby. Dr Fox ’ s patriotic speech comes after he issued his withering rebuke to Remainers after being asked if the Irish border issue could derail Brexit negotiations.

But it has been the object of mounting criticism over its perceived incompetence, understaffing, and lack of preparation.

Business Insider reported in April that the European Commission is "deeply concerned" over Fox's department's incompetent handling of trade deal rollovers," and his "failure to grasp basic concepts and trade-offs." The Times also reported on Monday that British negotiators will have a matter of weeks to renegotiate over 40 trade deals it currently has with other countries next year.

Today's warning comes as business leaders speak out about their growing unease at the lack of government preparation for Brexit, following a meeting with May on Monday.

"Businesses need clarity about the government's objectives to help them to plan. Everything is still subject to negotiation with the EU, but we don't yet know what the UK will pushing for in key areas like customs," Edwin Morgan, head of media relations at the Institute of Directors, said in a statement.

"Our members want to know whether the government's forthcoming white paper will make clear their intentions on VAT, customs and regulatory alignment - to understand in what areas ministers foresee continued harmonisation with EU rules, and where they want freedom to diverge."

"As an international economic department, we are attracting the brightest and best talent, growing to more than 3,500 people since its creation in July 2016, and we are currently in the process of expanding our specialist maritime sector team," said the DIT spokesperson.

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