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Wed May 29 2024

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Construction left out of UK trade push

27 Aug 20 International trade secretary Liz Truss has launched 11 new trade advisory groups as part of a major new business engagement drive – but the construction and building materials industries are conspicuous by their absence.

To support its drive to forge new trading relationships post-Brexit, the government has set up the  trade advisory groups (TAGs) “to help inform the government’s negotiating position and deliver key industry asks that benefit the whole UK”.

Brewers, distillers, food producers, financial services, car makers, chemical companies and even pop stars are all being brought in for the big trade push. But there is no place for construction of any kind.

The 11 TAGs are:

  • Agri-Food
  • Automotive, Aerospace and Marine
  • British Manufacturing and Consumer Goods
  • Investment
  • Life Sciences
  • Tech and Telecoms
  • Chemicals
  • Financial Services
  • Professional Advisory Services
  • Transport Services
  • Creative Industries

Each group comprises a dozen or so individuals – but there is no one from the construction supply chain on any of them.

The full list of the trade advisory groups can be found at

Britain exported £7.7bn of building materials and components in 2019, up from £6bn in 2013. The EU accounted for £4.36bn of these exports last year, compared to £3.37bn to the rest of the work.

However, if the government is to achieve its target of reducing the balance of trade deficit in building materials to £3bn, the UK needs to export a lot more. Imports have risen from £12bn in 2013 to £17.8bn in 2019 – meaning that the building materials industry’s trade deficit has widened from £6bn to more than £10bn.

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