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Call for expressions of interest in specialist adviser position

29 January 2021

The International Trade Committee (ITC) is calling for expressions of interest in becoming a Specialist Adviser to the Committee, to support its scrutiny of UK trade negotiations.

The Committee

ITC was established in 2016 and is appointed by the House of Commons to scrutinise the spending, administration and policy of the Department for International Trade (DIT), and other associated public bodies. It is made up of the Chair (Angus Brendan MacNeil MP) and ten other MPs – the membership is listed here.

The Inquiry

DIT is currently negotiating Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the US, Australia and New Zealand. In addition, the Government is expected to apply to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Further trade negotiations are likely to begin soon, as the Government pursues its objective of having 80% of UK trade covered by FTAs within the next three years.

ITC is conducting an open-ended inquiry into UK trade negotiations, as a means of scrutinising these FTA negotiations.

The Role

The Committee is seeking to appoint a number of Specialist Advisers with relevant expertise in trade policy and trade law to support the Committee with FTA scrutiny on an ad hoc basis. The successful candidates may be asked to:

  • work with the Committee secretariat to identify and analyse the relevant issues for the Committee raised by individual FTAs;
  • contribute to briefings and draft reports for the Committee and comment on drafts of written material produced by the Committee secretariat;
  • advise on sources of information and evidence, including potential witnesses; and
  • attend Committee meetings and provide oral briefings when required.

The role will involve attendance at Committee meetings. Currently this would be virtually, but may involve physical meetings in Westminster in the future, depending on circumstances. The Committee will meet necessary expenses for attendance at meetings or other work related to the role. The names of Specialist Advisers, and any relevant declarations of interests, will be published in any reports with which Advisers have been involved.

The Committee would welcome expressions of interest from candidates who can demonstrate that they have:

  • excellent communication skills – particularly the ability to provide authoritative, accessible and concise advice orally and in writing to non-experts that is balanced, evidence-based and politically impartial;
  • expert knowledge of trade policy and / or trade law – particularly (but not exclusively) in relation to:
    • Rules of Origin
    • Tariff Rate Quotas
    • non-tariff barriers
    • trade in agri-food products
    • trade in services
    • trade in data services
    • digital trade / e-commerce
    • Foreign Direct Investment
    • econometrics / economic modelling;
  • the ability to work effectively with the Committee’s Members and staff; and
  • the capacity and capability to provide high-quality advice and support at short notice.

In addition, the Committee wishes to hear from candidates who can demonstrate:

  • understanding of the interests of sectors and stakeholders that are likely to be relevant in current and future FTA negotiations; and / or
  • deep knowledge and understanding of issues affecting trade with the countries with which the UK is (or is likely to be soon) negotiating FTAs.

There is uncertainty around the timescales for FTA negotiations. The Committee wishes to appoint Advisers now who will be available to advise it as and when required, as negotiations progress.

It is not possible to determine exactly how much time Advisers will be required to spend on their roles, but it is not expected to exceed 20 days in a calendar year. Advisers will not generally be required to work more than two days in any one week – but there may be times when short periods of very intense work are required.

Appointments will initially be made for a year, with the possibility of extension through mutual agreement.

The successful candidates will be paid a daily honorarium on the basis of work done.

The Committee is keen to hear from applicants from a wide range of backgrounds, including those who have not previously engaged with Parliament or Select Committees.

To apply

Please send a CV, covering letter and declaration of interests to by 11.59pm on Friday 5 March 2021.

The covering letter should set out, in no more than two sides, how you have demonstrated the competencies set out above and which policy areas you feel qualified to advise on.

Your declaration of interests should include anything that a reasonable person might consider could influence the advice you give the Committee. For example, this would include, but is not limited to: a relevant financial interest; active membership of a relevant campaign group or political party; or the involvement of a close family member in the area of specialism. Declared interests of successful applicants will be published.

Shortlisted candidates may be invited to an informal remote interview with the secretariat of the Committee.

Any queries about the Specialist Adviser role and the application process should be directed to David Turner (Committee Specialist):

Tel.: 0207 219 3622


Further information

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