17 Jun 2017

'I'm used to difficult negotiations' - NZer on UK appointment

8:54 pm on 17 June 2017

A New Zealander has been appointed by the British government to lead the trade talks with the rest of the world as Britain leaves the European Union.

Crawford Falconer has been appointed chief trade negotiation adviser and second permanent secretary at the Department for International Trade.

British Trade Secretary Liam Fox said Professor Falconer is a globally respected trade negotiator.

Crawford Falconer

Crawford Falconer Photo: Supplied

He said the role involved negotiating for the best global trade deals that would benefit the the UK.

Professor Falconer is both a British and New Zealand citizen and has had a long career with New Zealand's Foreign Office, specialising in trade.

He is currently Professor of Global Value Chains and Trade at Lincoln University.

He has also acted as New Zealand deputy secretary and vice minister for International Trade and Foreign Affairs, and is a former ambassador to the World Trade Organisation.

'I'm used to difficult negotiations'

Professor Falconer said he was approached about the role, and while it was tough decision accepting it it was too good to turn down.

He said the role would come into effect once Britain had left the European Union.

"I'm there to do negotiations with the rest of the world, because once they're out of Europe then they're able to do their own trade negotiations which they've not been able to do. They need someone to help them out with that, and that's what I will be doing."

Prof Falconer said he was not expecting the job to be easy.

"I'm used to difficult negotiations. I've yet to find an easy one."

The Department for International Trade was formed in July 2016 and has a global workforce of more than 3000 people. It said the trade policy group includes economic analysts and lawyers.

Professor Falconer plans to leave for London soon, for what will be a five-year contract.

"It was a tough decision ... to up sticks and leave. I had come back to New Zealand from Europe, and had no plans to do anything else other than what I am doing at Lincoln and then this came out of the blue.

"It will be incredibly exciting," he said.

The Department for International Trade said it has already established a series of nine working groups with 15 countries including India, China and Australia and "high-level dialogues" to explore the best ways of progressing the UK's trade and investment relationships.

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