IEA announces new International Trade and Competition Unit

The Institute of Economic Affairs, the UK’s leading free-market think tank, today announces the launch of its new International Trade and Competition Unit, accompanied by a raft of new staffing appointments.

Shanker Singham will head up the new Unit as its Director. He joins the IEA from the Legatum Institute, where he was Director of Economic Policy and Prosperity Studies. A leading expert on international trade and regular commentator on the UK’s future trading relationships post-Brexit, he will be the driving force behind the IEA’s output on trade and competition issues.

Also joining the IEA are: lawyer Victoria Hewson; economist Catherine McBride; and senior research analyst Dr Radomir Tylecote. All three bring a wealth of experience from the legal, technology, business and think tank worlds. They will take up their roles later this month.

The IEA has a long and successful track record of analysing and promoting the role of markets in solving economic and social problems and a large network of non-partisan experts and contacts to call upon. The International Trade and Competition Unit will build on these strengths to make positive contributions at a pivotal time for the UK, making the intellectual case for the removal of trade barriers with the rest of the world.

The new Unit will also lead on the Institute’s work on EPICENTER– an independent initiative of eight leading think tanks from across Europe – and have responsibility for the IEA’s output on financial services.

Commenting on the appointments, Mark Littlewood, Director General at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“I’m absolutely delighted that Shanker and his team are joining the Institute at a crucial time for the UK as it prepares to leave the European Union. It is vital that we educate politicians and the wider public about the benefits of free trade and open markets, reject protectionism and that we build on our proud history of being an independent, free-trading nation.

I have huge admiration for the work Shanker and his team have done at the Legatum Institute. Under Philippa’s leadership, Legatum have gone from strength to strength, becoming thought leaders in crucial policy areas of which trade is only one. I look forward to continuing our strong relationship with them, and to Shanker and his team continuing their work at the IEA.”

Shanker Singham, commenting on his appointment, said:

“ I am delighted to be launching this new unit at the IEA, an organisation with a storied history robustly defending free trade and free markets.  As our country takes the first steps towards implementing its own independent trade policy, trade policy knowledge will be at a premium.  At the same time, ensuring that we embrace competition as opposed to cronyism in this country and around the world is crucial to creating wealth and lifting people out of poverty.  We look forward to being a resource to all who need us in the trade, competition and regulatory policy space.”

Notes to editors: 

For media enquiries please contact Stephanie Lis, Director of Communications: [email protected] or 0207 799 8909 or 07766 221 268


Shanker Singham (Director of Trade and Competition Unit) is a leading expert on international trade, and a regular commentator on the UK’s future trade relationships after Brexit. He has advised governments and companies around the world on trade initiatives, including the accession of Poland and Hungary to the EU and of China and Russia to the WTO. Shanker has served as a cleared trade advisor to the United States government and to a host of US political candidates, including working with Mitt Romney on his 2008 and 2012 Presidential campaigns. He was worked at the Legatum Institute, he was head of market access at Squire Sanders and Managing Director of the Competitiveness and Enterprise Cities project at Babson Global. He is the author of A General Theory of Trade and Competition: Trade Liberalisation and Competitive Markets (Cameron May Publishing, 2007) and a Bretton Woods Committee member.

Victoria Hewson (Special Counsel) is a lawyer and researcher. She previously worked at the Legatum Institute which she joined after ten years practicing law, where she advised 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.

Catherine McBride (Senior Economist) is an Economist with 19 years’ experience working in financial services primarily trading financial, equity and commodity derivatives. She joins from the Legatum Institute, previous to which she ran Financial Research for the Financial Services Negotiation Forum (FSNForum), developing ideas about financial service industry governance and policy to support growth and prosperity after the UK leaves the EU. Catherine has previously worked in derivatives with ADM Investor Services International, Chase Manhattan, Baring Securities, Bain & Co Securities part of Deutsche Bank Australia and as a financial analyst for IBM.

Dr Radomir Tylecote (Senior Research Analyst) has an interest in trade and challenges for high technology sectors. He was formerly at the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), where he was an external advisor to HM Treasury and helped develop the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, launched in the Industrial Strategy 2017, then at Communicators for Britain within the Vote Leave campaign. He has an MPhil from Cambridge University, and his PhD from Imperial College London Business School studied the impact of China’s innovation system on its technology firms and trade.


EPICENTER, the European Policy Information Center, is an independent initiative of eight leading think tanks from across the European Union. It seeks to inform the EU policy debate and promote the principles of a free society by bringing together the economic expertise of its members.

EPICENTER is formed by the Centre for Political Studies (Denmark), Civil Development Forum (Poland), Civismo (Spain), the Institut Economique Molinari (France), the Institute of Economic Affairs (UK), Instituto Bruno Leoni (Italy), the Lithuanian Free Market Institute and Timbro (Sweden). Like its members, EPICENTER is politically independent and does not accept taxpayer funding.

About the IEA:

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems and seeks to provide analysis in order to improve the public understanding of economics.

The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.