Antonia Romeo confirmed as UK trade perm sec

By on 16/01/2017
Antonia Romeo appointed as new permanent secretary at DIT

Antonia Romeo, a British official based in New York to manage the UK’s trade relations with the US, has been named the new permanent secretary of the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT).

DIT was created in the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union to develop the country’s trading links outside the EU; as its most senior civil servant, Romeo will play a key role in shaping the UK’s post-Brexit trading relations with the rest of the world.

A rising star in the UK civil service, Romeo, 42, is currently consul general in New York and director general economic affairs US. She has held a number of senior positions, including director general of criminal justice at the Ministry of Justice, and director general of the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat at the Cabinet Office.

Romeo is expected to take up the post on 27 March, having seen off candidates from the public and private sectors around the world. In September UK trade secretary Liam Fox announced that he was running an “open, international” competition to fill the post, amid suggestions that he wanted to bring in an experienced trade negotiator. But Romeo combines international trade experience with relationships across Whitehall and experience of delivering controversial policies – including the part-privatisation of England’s probation services – within the UK.

Fox commented: “We are harnessing the very best of home-grown and international talent and I’m delighted to welcome Antonia, who brings with her extensive leadership and policy expertise that will help the UK to take advantage of the many global trading opportunities before us.”

To bolster the DIT leadership’s experience of trade negotiations, the department said it plans to appoint a ‘second permanent secretary’ to provide “expert” trade negotiating advice to Romeo and to take charge of this function across the civil service. A competition to find a candidate to fill this post will open soon, DIT said.

Commenting on her role, Romeo said: “It is a privilege to have been appointed to lead the department as we work to promote the UK as an outward-facing, free-trading global nation. International trade and investment are central to UK prosperity and growth as we exit the European Union. I look forward to working with the secretary of state, ministers and staff of the department, as well as colleagues across Whitehall, on this challenging agenda.”

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See also:

Patsy Wilkinson appointed new second permanent secretary at Britain’s Home Office

Alex Chisholm appointed new permanent secretary of UK’s energy department

UK government allocates over £400m to key Brexit departments

About Ben Willis

Ben Willis is a journalist and editor with a varied background reporting on topics including public policy, the environment, renewable energy and international development. His work has appeared in a variety of national newspapers including the Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Times, as well as numerous specialist business, policy and consumer publications.

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