Press release

DIT appoints Crawford Falconer as new Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser

Experienced global trade negotiator complements top team at DIT.


A globally respected trade negotiator, tasked with sealing deals with the UK’s key trading partners, has been appointed today by the Prime Minister and the International Trade Secretary.

Internationally recognised expert Crawford Falconer will act as head of profession for trade negotiators and will bolster the Civil Service’s trade negotiation skills, bringing over 25 years of public service in trade and foreign affairs.

As the Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser and Second Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Trade (DIT) he will be responsible to the Secretary of State for International Trade, The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP for negotiating with ministers the best global trade deals that will benefit the whole of the UK.

The new expert Second Permanent Secretary post was created to support the establishment of a world-class trade negotiation function and lead this new profession within the Civil Service, reporting to the DIT Permanent Secretary.

Together with his team Crawford will:

  • develop and negotiate free trade agreements and market access deals with non-EU countries
  • negotiate plurilateral trade deals on specific sectors or products
  • make the department a ‘centre of excellence’ for negotiation and British trade
  • support the UK’s membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Since its formation in July 2016, the headcount at DIT has increased to a global workforce of over 3,000 people. The Trade Policy Group that includes policy and country specialists, as well as expert economic analysts and lawyers, has itself quadrupled in size.

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said:

Britain is a great global trading nation and, as we leave the EU, we will embrace the world and seek to build an outward-looking Britain that is confident on the world stage.

We’re attracting the very best global talent to DIT as an international economic department. Crawford brings extensive experience of trade negotiation and foreign affairs and will play a key leadership role, with ministers and the first Permanent Secretary as we further build our trade capability

Welcoming the appointment Sir Jeremy Heywood said:

As the UK’s first Chief Trade Negotiation Adviser, Crawford Falconer will play a crucial role in building the Department for International Trade’s trade negotiation capability, enabling the new department to take forward its vital mission of promoting free trade and supporting UK business on the global stage. I am delighted that we have been able to secure someone for this role with a long and distinguished track record in international trade negotiations.

Crawford Falconer is an excellent addition to DIT’s senior team and I look forward to working with him.

Antonia Romeo, Permanent Secretary at DIT, said:

Crawford Falconer brings a wealth of global trade expertise to the Department for International Trade from over 25 years of working on trade policy in the New Zealand government, the OECD and academia.

International trade drives the prosperity of the UK and the world. As we build our relationships to create a more global Britain, Crawford will be central to our work to secure the best trade deals that deliver for businesses and consumers.

Crawford Falconer said:

As the UK prepares to leave the EU, it will be top of the government’s agenda to turn the enormous new opportunities opening up for the UK into win-win agreements with our trading partners around the globe.

That will bring tangible new gains to us at home, and it will bring gains to those trading partners that join us. As the world’s fifth largest economic power, the UK will bring much needed leadership to the international trade agenda. I am absolutely delighted to join this hugely exciting new journey.

DIT has already established a series of 9 ‘working groups’ with 15 countries including India, China and Australia and high-level dialogues to explore the best ways of progressing our trade and investment relationships.

The announcement comes as Dr Fox prepares to visit his US counterparts in Washington (Monday 19 June 2017) to explore ways of deepening trade and economic links on what will be his first international visit since being reappointed International Trade Secretary.

Notes to editors

A New Zealand/UK dual-national, Crawford Falconer is currently Professor of Global Value Chains and Trade at Lincoln University. This follows a long career at the heart of NZ’s Foreign Office, specialising in trade. He was latterly the NZ Deputy Secretary and Vice Minister for International Trade and Foreign Affairs. He is a former NZ Ambassador to the WTO, and the holder of a variety of trade-related posts within the ministry.

Further information

Contact the DIT Media and Digital Team on 020 7215 2000.

Follow us: @tradegovuk,

Published 16 June 2017