Liz Truss: Trade deals are being set up at the 'right speed'

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Emma Wade-Smith has been appointed HM Consul General and Trade Commissioner (HMTC) for North America announced by UK Government, and will focus on boosting trade and investment with both the US and Canada. Ms Wade-Smith – who is currently HM Trade Commissioner for Africa and who previously held senior diplomatic roles in the US – will start in her new role in November 2021.

She will focus on promoting British trade and investment in the US and Canada, with the aim of accelerating job creation and opportunities across the UK, as well as working with businesses across North America to support growth and innovation, with the appointment clearly intended to pave the way for a wide-ranging free trade agreement.

In addition, as Consul General for New York, Ms Wade-Smith will support and strengthen partnerships between the UK and the US across the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut, as well as supporting British nationals working there.

Foreign Secretary Ms Truss said: “The UK’s partnership with North America is vital for delivering jobs, growth, and a free and secure world.

“Emma brings a wealth of knowledge from her previous role, and will continue to strengthen our political, economic and cultural links in New York – whilst deepening transatlantic ties between the UK and our allies.”

She added: “Boosted by the expected lifting of US travel restrictions, Emma will play a vital role in taking the relationship between the UK and North America to the next level as we forge ahead with a forward-looking Global Britain.”

Ms Trevelyan added: “I’m delighted to welcome Emma as Trade Commissioner for North America and HM Consul General in New York.

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“She will bring a wealth of experience and insight to the roles as we look to deepen our economic, cultural and diplomatic ties in the region.

“I look forward to working with her to break down barriers to trade and support jobs, growth and opportunities for our superb British businesses.”

Ms Wade-Smith replaces Antony Phillipson, who was appointed High Commissioner to South Africa, earlier this year.

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She said: “Supporting, enabling, and developing stronger business links between the UK and North America is critical to creating more jobs and spurring sustainable economic growth for both sides of the Atlantic.

“Together we can help and promote our world-class companies to build cleaner and more inclusive economies that we want to live and work in, including through innovation in digital, tech and clean growth.”

She stressed: “I am committed to using my energy, experience and enthusiasm to lead our trade and investment work across North America, as well as bring creativity and drive to furthering the education, science, arts and people links between the UK and the States of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.”

The UK and US enjoy a thriving trade and investment relationship, with 1.4 million people in the UK working for US firms and 1.2 million people in America working for British companies, with the UK being the biggest foreign employer in the US.

The US is also the UK’s largest single trading partner, with total trade reaching £196.3billion in 2020 – a figure both Ms Truss and Ms Trevelyan are hoping will increase substantially in the years to come.

Meanwhile Canada is an important strategic partner for the UK, with total trade reaching £17.7billion last year.

The Government is likewise hoping the value of trade with Canada will increase via a more ambitious UK-Canada trade agreement as well as through future membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

HMTCs work alongside HM Ambassadors and High Commissioners, the wider diplomatic network, and other HM Government colleagues based in countries in their region, in a “joined-up and coordinated” government effort overseas to promote UK trade and prosperity, the DIT said.

In total, there will be nine geographical areas that the HM Trade Commissioners cover: Africa; Asia-Pacific; China; Eastern Europe and Central Asia Network; Europe; Latin America; Middle East; North America; and South Asia.

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