Kemi Badenoch is heading to Abu Dhabi for a summit of the world’s business ministers where she will push for tariff-free trade.

The Trade Secretary will seek to use the event to progress talks with counterparts over a trade deal with Gulf nations.

Her visit is also expected to see her come face to face with her Canadian opposite number, days after being challenged over a claim that trade talks with Ottawa were ongoing.

Ms Badenoch and Greg Hands will be among 150 ministers gathering in the United Arab Emirates seeking to negotiate global rules that affect tariffs and regulations.

The Trade Secretary said: “Free trade creates jobs, opportunities for businesses and puts money in people’s pockets.

“We want to see more barriers torn down, not new ones being put up. This is why it’s important the UK is here at MC13, to secure meaningful outcomes for companies and consumers back home and around the world as part of the Government’s plan to grow the economy and boost opportunities for our young people. I look forward to working with members this week to make that happen.”

The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) said UK ministers will also meet with all six Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) counterparts to progress talks on a free-trade agreement.

It will be the first time Ms Badenoch gathers with all six ministers at once, the DBT said.

The summit comes after Ms Badenoch was challenged last week for saying in January that talks were “ongoing” with Canada to avert a cliff edge for UK car exports.

Concerns have been raised over British carmakers potentially being hit by a “tariff wall” when rules of origin in a current trade continuity deal with the country expire at the end of March.

The Trade Secretary told MPs last month there were “multiple discussions” being had with Ottawa but the Canadian high commissioner to the UK later appeared to dispute the suggestion.

Ralph Goodale told the Business and Trade Committee that “as far as I’m aware, since the UK announced its pause on January 25, there have been neither negotiations nor technical discussions with respect to any of the outstanding issues”.

Labour chairman of the committee Liam Byrne has said Ms Badenoch has “questions to answer” over the remarks she made in relation to the negotiations.

A Government source said earlier this week that Ms Badenoch would be “continuing discussions” about outstanding issues with her Canadian counterpart at the WTO summit.

They added: “The Business and Trade Secretary told the House she was having ‘multiple discussions’, these are very different to the ‘formal negotiations’ or ‘technical discussions’ that were ruled out by the Canadian High Commissioner.”

UK-Canada FTA talks were suspended earlier this year over disagreements on food standards for beef and cheese.

The two nations have been negotiating for the last two years after Britain left the European Union, with trade continuing largely under the deal originally brokered when the UK was a member of the bloc and with a time-limited side agreement in place protecting cheese and cars from higher tariffs.

During the conference, the UK will also push for the extension of the WTO’s e-commerce moratorium, a global agreement that avoids taxes on online transactions, the Department for Business and Trade said.

Mr Hands said: “From preventing digital products like emails being taxed, to ensuring countries can challenge unfair trading practices, the UK joins this conference with a clear mission: to be the world’s leading voice for free trade.”

Minister for development Andrew Mitchell said the UK would also be “pushing robustly” for outcomes at the summit that support developing countries to reap benefits of free trade and global investment.