Business and Trade Department marks 100-day milestone

Today (Wednesday 17 May) marks the 100th day since the formation of the Department for Business and Trade (DBT).

Created by the Prime Minister on the 7th February, DBT combines previously existing government business (BEIS) and international trade (DIT) departments to create a single entity to deliver on the government’s priority to grow the economy by supporting British businesses at home and abroad, promoting investment and championing free trade.

Since its inception, the Department has had several triumphs, most notably the UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in April, set to have a combined GDP of £12 trillion once the UK joins. The UK’s accession will place the UK alongside some of the fastest growing economies in the world, support jobs and create opportunities for companies of all sizes and in all parts of the country.

Just this week, Secretary of State Kemi Badenoch also launched negotiations on a new UK-Switzerland free trade agreement to boost trade and lower tariffs on UK exports to Switzerland, which could reduce annual duties for UK businesses by around £7.4 million. A refresh of our trading relationship will benefit more than 14,000 UK businesses which already export goods to Switzerland, 86% of which are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), by creating simpler trade rules for products of origin, customs procedures and digitisation.

In March, the Secretary of State also signed a pivotal digital trade deal with Ukraine that will support Ukraine’s economy and greatly enhance our bilateral trade and investment relationship. It means Ukraine will have guaranteed access to the financial services crucial for reconstruction efforts through the deal’s facilitation of cross-border data flows. Ukrainian businesses will also be able to trade more efficiently and cheaply with the UK through electronic transactions, e-signatures, and e-contracts.

On the business side, the Department launched the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill which ensures businesses and consumers are protected from rip-offs and subscription traps and can reap the full benefits of the digital economy. We also increased the National Living and Minimum Wages from April 1, putting more money in the pockets of 2.9 million of the lowest-paid workers across the country.

Ministers joined over 200 of the UK’s highest profile CEOs and business leaders at the first ever Business Connect conference, aimed at unlocking innovation and growing the economy.

Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch said: “I’m proud of the great work the department has achieved in such a short time. I want DBT to be an office for economic growth, working with businesses to ensure they are seizing the opportunities we are generating at home and abroad.”

“In line with the Prime Minister’s economic priorities, we will continue to help grow the economy and enable firms to create better-paid jobs across the country by removing barriers to businesses, growing UK exports to reach £1 trillion a year by 2030, and promoting the UK as the number one investment destination in Europe.”

The Secretary of State also showed her support for the UK’s steel industry by visiting British Steel in Scunthorpe and Port Talbot’s steelworks, as steelmakers across the country make changes to cut their carbon emissions.

In the investment space, DBT support helped Airbus and Rolls-Royce to secure one of the largest deals in aviation history with Air India, worth billions of pounds to the UK and creating 450 new manufacturing jobs in Wales.

And in support of UK exporters, Trade Minister Nigel Huddleston signed a state-level trade Memorandum of Understanding with Oklahoma which seeks to boost the £174 million worth of Oklahoma goods imports from UK in 2022 and generate more jobs for exporters, following similar agreements with North Carolina and Indiana.

DBT also has plans to expand its regional footprint through the Places for Growth Programme, aimed at increasing the number of civil servant roles performed outside London and the South-East.

Over the next decade, DBT will significantly increase its presence across the UK’s regions and nations as part of the Levelling Up agenda, by delivering a new major site in Darlington and new trade and investment offices in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast. DBT aims to place +750 roles across these four locations by 2030.