Rishi Sunak merges UK trade and business departments in Whitehall shake-up

UK government is also getting a dedicated energy department once again.

Britain’s Department for International Trade has been axed in a major government shake-up, with a reformed business department now responsible for U.K. trade.

Rishi Sunak announced the creation of the new Department for Business and Trade this morning, with the prime minister appointing Tory rising star Kemi Badenoch as its secretary of state.

A junior trade minister told POLITICO that it "made sense" to have the trade portfolio more closely linked to government policy on business and industrial strategy.

Sunak and Badenoch last year said they wanted to place less emphasis on quickly signing trade deals and more emphasis on boosting exports and inward foreign direct investment.

Long-time Trade Minister Greg Hands has also been appointed as Sunak's new Conservative Party Chair, after Nadhim Zahawi was last week sacked over breaching the ministerial code in relation to his personal tax affairs.

Grant Shapps will be in charge of a new energy and net-zero department, which has been spun out from the former Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The changes are as a part of a wider Whitehall reorganization, which has also seen the creation of a new science and technology department.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport was also slimmed down to make the changes.