Director General, Trade Policy

John Alty


John has been Director General of Trade Policy in the Department for International Trade since July 2016.

From 2010 to 2016, he was CEO of the UK’s Intellectual Property Office, an Agency of the Business Department.

This involved extensive international engagement both within and outside Europe, including agreements and joint work with Chinese, Indian, South East Asian and other counterparts on intellectual property and chairing a group involving the US, Europe and Japan and some 40 other countries on international harmonisation of rules for patents.

Prior to that, John was a Director General in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills from 2005 to 2010, responsible for trade and EU policy, together with competition, corporate governance and labour markets. This was during the period of negotiations on the Doha Development Round.

Over his civil service career John has been involved in a wide range of business and market oversight issues. He has worked closely with the aerospace, automotive, pharmaceuticals and other manufacturing sectors, especially during his time as head of the Department of Trade and Industry’s business sectors team from 2002-2005, and more recently with the creative and digital/tech sectors at IPO.

He has considerable experience of EU negotiations on single market and competition issues. He has been private secretary to a number of cabinet and junior Ministers.

Director General, Trade Policy

Department for International Trade

Previous roles in government

  1. Director General, Knowledge and Innovation, BIS
  2. Chief Executive and Comptroller General, IPO