Brexit: U.S. Pact Will Be One Deal Among Many for ‘Global Champion’ Britain, Promises Trade Secretary

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International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox has said that the “very big, very powerful” trade deal which U.S. President Donald Trump wants with Brexit Britain will be one of many around the world, as the country takes its place as “the global champion for free trade”.

The Leave campaigner, who is currently in the U.S. for trade talks, said Britain would be “at the heart of international trade” after Brexit in an article for The Sunday Times.

Freed from European Union rules which prevent member-states from negotiating their own trade deals, “[Britain] will, for the first time in more than 40 years, be able to shape trade policy according to our own national interests,” he noted.

Dr Fox was at pains not to underplay just how important an enhanced commercial relationship with the United States could be, however.

“The U.S. is our single largest trading partner, accounting for a fifth of all exports,” the Trade Secretary reminded readers.

“Bilateral trade is already worth more than £150bn a year, the U.S. is the single biggest source of inward investment into the UK, and together we have around $1 trillion invested in each other’s economies – and this is operating on the World Trade Organisation’s rules.

“Just imagine what a future ambitious free-trade agreement (FTA) could bring in the future.”

President Donald Trump confirmed he would be heading to London to sign a “very big, very powerful” trade deal with Britain at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany earlier this month.

“We’ve had tremendous talks; there is no country that could possibly be closer than our countries,” he said following a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May.

“We have been working on a trade deal which will be a very, very big deal; a very powerful deal; great for both countries – and I think we will have that done very, very quickly.”

Dr Fox used his Sunday Times to remind naysayers that “Having the world’s largest economy publicly show commitment to increasing trade with us is not something we should sneer at.”

He added, “Enthusiasm from the country that has nearly a quarter-share of the global economy should be embraced; it’s yet another sign of confidence in the future of the UK as a place to do business.”

Other world leaders, such as Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, are also seeking to finalise trade deals “as soon as the UK is able to do so” – with Dr Fox indicating that his department has already “instigated 10 trade working groups with 15 different countries”.

Brussels negotiators have remained reluctant to admit that the EU needs a free trade agreement with Britain – which will be its single largest export market after Brexit – and have resisted beginning trade talks before the details of a divorce settlement of up to 100 billion euros has been settled.

But with Britain, poised to sign so many global deals and tariffs likely to cost the EU far more than the UK, some EU leaders are urging officials to adopt a more constructive approach.

“We have a nighmare scenario … if there’s no deal,” said Hungarian foreign minister Péter Szijjártó in early July.

“If there’s no deal, if there’s no comprehensive economic, trade and investment agreement, then we will be in big trouble in Europe, because the last time we were able to implement a free trade agreement was in 2011 with [South] Korea … and if Britain gets free hands then you will be able to sign free trade agreements with India, with Turkey, with the U.S., with Australia, with which the European Union does not have free trade agreements.

“So, if this is the case, then it will harm our competitiveness … we want the most comprehensive economic trade and investment partnership with the UK in the future.”

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery


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