Cabinet reshuffle: Truss promoted to foreign secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan to lead DIT
Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the former international development minister, has become the new Secretary of State for International Trade, replacing Liz Truss who has been promoted to the role of Foreign Secretary.
Trevelyan will lead the Department for International Trade (DIT) in its efforts to strike new free trade agreements and promote UK exports overseas.
Today’s cabinet reshuffle represents Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s first major overhaul of his government leadership team since his election win in 2019 and since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘Joining at a pivotal time’
IOE&IT director general Marco Forgione welcomed Trevelyan’s appointment.
“Ms Trevelyan is joining at a pivotal time. With the UK’s trade policy capability now firmly established, we need to move into a new phase in which we will look to build on our undoubted strengths and grow the UK’s share of world trade, as well as the number of UK businesses who trade internationally.
“The IOE&IT looks forward to helping the new minister and her team achieve those goals.”
Profile: Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Trevelyan was the last head of the Department for International Development (DFID) before it was merged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
After leaving the Cabinet following the merger, she was appointed Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
She was also appointed as the UK International Champion on Adaptation and Resilience for the COP26 Presidency on 7 November 2020.
Before DFID, she was the Minister for the Armed Forces.
A Eurosceptic who voted for Brexit in 2016, Trevelyan was a member of the European Research Group and resigned as a Parliamentary Private Secretary in 2018 over Theresa May’s draft EU withdrawal agreement.
The MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed since 2015, she voted in favour of the UK’s trade agreement with the EU in 2020 and also backed the Trade Bill, which has since become the Trade Act 2021.
The latter legislation established the UK’s framework for trade negotiations and set up the Trade Remedies Authority.
Truss earned her promotion having secured the highest approval ratings among Cabinet ministers from Conservative Party supporters on Conservative Home.
She succeeded Dr Liam Fox as international trade secretary in July 2019 when Boris Johnson became the Conservatives’ leader and Prime Minister.
Since then, her department has secured the UK’s first free trade agreements as an independent trading nation following Brexit.
Her achievements include:
- Signing free trade agreements with Japan and Australia
- Securing rollover trade deals with 66 of the 70 countries that the UK previously had agreements with as a former member of the EU
- Beginning negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP)
- Passing the Trade Act 2021 into law
- Establishing the UK’s post-Brexit tariff book – the UK Global Tariff
Truss’ last actions
The DIT is currently in the late stages of negotiations for a trade deal with New Zealand and has been permitted to begin talks to join the CPTPP bloc of 11 Pacific nations.
In her last week as trade secretary, Truss held talks with Indian commerce minister Piyush Goyal about the UK’s planned negotiations with India for another trade deal.
She also said that the UK should pivot to Asia and prioritise trade in digital and financial services in her last speech as international trade secretary, which she made to the Policy Exchange think tank yesterday (14 September).