Trade specialists are reluctant to join the civil service and help negotiate Brexit because there is a widely-shared consensus that Theresa May’s government is a shambles, according to
global trade specialist and director of executive recruitment company Circle Square David Archer.
In particular, trade experts are deterred by the prospect of a hard Brexit, an approach which they believe would see controlling inward migration prioritised over access to the EU’s Single Market.
He told the Times newspaper:”There’s a general consensus amongst negotiators that the UK government is in a state of disarray.”
Archer added that trade experts were frustrated by International Trade Secretary Liam Fox’s claim that British businesses are too “fat and lazy” to export. Speaking to Tory activists last month, Fox said that executives were more interested in playing golf than trying to break into new markets.
The hardline Brexiteer’s remarks appear to be undermining his attempts to recruit a team big and qualified enough to negotiate Britain’s post-Brexit trade deals.
Archer added: “Attracting negotiators has been undermined by Liam Fox: why would you want to come on board and try to sell the dream of free trade agreements with the UK if the person you are reporting to slates the product?”
May’s government and the civil service are preparing for one of the biggest and most challenging negotiation processes the country has ever faced. The European Commission has a negotiating body of nearly-600 trade specialists at its disposal but Archer feels the UK isn’t equipped to enter Brexit negotiations.
“If the civil service was serious about undertaking this process in an effective and proactive manner they would have engaged with more trade negotiators by now,” he added.
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