The Legatum Institute Special Trade Commission believes Brexit presents a huge opportunity for British people and global trade. Following our recently published report on Brexit, Movement of Goods and the Supply Chain, this event will present the top three considerations that we believe must underpin decision making in the Brexit negotiations. 


  • Stephen Booth, Director of Policy and Research, Open Europe
  • Victoria Hewson, Senior Counsel, Special Trade Commission
  • George Kelly, Director, iTax UK Business Solutions Ltd

Chaired by

  • Shanker Singham, Director of Economic Policy and Prosperity Studies; Chairman of the Legatum Institute Special Trade Commission


  • Monday, 10 April 2017; 17.45 for a 18.00 start followed by a reception
  • Legatum Institute, 11 Charles Street, London, W1J 5DW

Register your interest

About the Speakers

Stephen Booth is Director of Policy and Research at Open Europe. While at Open Europe he has written extensively on UK-EU relations, including trade, regulation, immigration, and justice and home affairs policy. He previously led Open Europe’s work on EU reform and, since the EU referendum, he has co-authored work on UK-EU financial services trade post-Brexit and Open Europe’s most recent report ‘Nothing to declare: A plan for UK-EU trade outside the Customs Union’. Stephen comments regularly on EU affairs in the print and broadcast media.
Stephen holds an undergraduate degree in political science and was awarded the Jean Monnet Prize for his master's degree in European studies from the University of Sussex. 

Victoria Hewson is a Senior Associate at CMS Cameron McKenna LLP, currently seconded to act as counsel to the Legatum Institute Special Trade Commission. In practice, she advises banks and financial institutions on technology, outsourcing and fintech. She has an LLB from University College London. Before becoming a lawyer, she worked for Procter & Gamble in Frankfurt and Newcastle upon Tyne on finance and employee services projects.

George Kelly's career started with 14 years at Customs and Excise in London, mostly as a specialist investigator in the illegal drugs and revenue fraud area. He regularly had conduct of preparation of cases for criminal prosecution. 

George joined KPMG and became a tax partner in 1997. He specialised in helping businesses deal with tax issues, particularly in disputes with the Revenue departments. George is now a director of iTax UK Business Solutions Ltd, which offers consultancy advice to UK and international clients in the field of indirect taxation and regulatory issues. Much of his specialist casework has involved cross-border trade matters and he has worked extensively in Europe, the USA, the Far East and Australasia.  The following examples highlight cross-border casework where George has acted as principal tax adviser:

• Global enquiry for New Zealand multinational into underpayments of EU agricultural levies (alleged duty underpayments totalling £140 million). 
• Global enquiry for US multinational into customs duty underpayments arising from manufacturing operation in the UK and claims to duty preference in eastern Europe. 
• UK/Belgium enquiry into misdescribed heating fuels. 
• Valuation project for Korean vehicle manufacturer leading to significant customs duty savings on European imports.
• VAT advice to airline on VAT liability of flight “add-ons” to international transport
• Advice to importer concerning validation of Malaysian origin certificates.
• Enquiry for European multinational clothing manufacturer of customs valuation of imported goods, incorrect declarations and arrears of duty and VAT arising from bespoke software programming faults. 
• Identification of liability for Anti-Dumping Duty for private UK metal-trading firm (total liability £3 million). Voluntary disclosures made to tax authorities in Belgium and USA.
• Appeal against denial of £22 million VAT for UK private client in respect of trade in consumer electronics. Enquiries of suppliers and customers in UK, Dubai Hong Kong and Singapore. 
• European enquiry on behalf of a global alcohol manufacturer into cross-border diversions of alcoholic products, with potential VAT and excise liabilities. 
• Investigation into and advice on the regulatory and customs duty implications of purchases of branded “grey market” goods for a major multinational retailer (value £45 million), involving inquiries of suppliers and freight forwarders in the UK and USA, and liaison with HMRC and DTI (as was).

George has a Master’s degree in Business Administration (Distinction), is a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and has lectured in international trade and business at the School of Oriental and African Studies,  and strategic and operations management at Liverpool John Moores University. He has also devised and delivered specialist training material for HM Customs and KPMG, as well as various clients.

Shanker Singham leads the Legatum Institute’s Economics of Prosperity work which examines how countries can become more productive, and the role free trade—with open, competitive markets—plays in helping people of all incomes increase their prosperity. He is also Chairman of the Legatum Institute's Special Trade Commission, which seeks to present a roadmap for the many trade negotiations the UK faces in the wake of the decision to exit the EU. Previously, Shanker was head of market access at Squire Sanders and Managing Director of the Competitiveness and Enterprise Cities project at Babson Global. Currently, he is the CEO of Competere. Shanker has worked with governments and companies around the world on market opening and transition issues, including on the early privatisations of the UK electricity market, the former Soviet Union, the accession of Poland and Hungary to the EU, the transitions in Latin America after the apertura and the WTO accessions of a number of countries, including China and Russia. In 1997, Shanker founded the International Roundtable on Trade and Competition as a way of promoting the notion of free trade, competitive markets and property rights protection around the world. A cleared advisor to the United States government on trade issues, he is also Non-Government Adviser to the International Competition Network. Shanker has also been a senior trade and economics adviser to a number of political candidates including Democratic Governors Lawton Chiles and Buddy McKay of Florida as well as Governor Mitt Romney’s Presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012. He is the author of A General Theory of Trade and Competition: Trade Liberalisation and Competitive Markets (Cameron May Publishing, 2007).