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UK To Set Out Free Trade Ambitions

by Amanda Banks,, London

28 July 2016

The UK Government will in due course set out a "very ambitious program of free trade [agreements] with some of the most important and growing economies," Liam Fox, the new International Development Secretary, has said.

In a speech to a conference in the US, Fox confirmed that he had "already had conversations with foreign counterparts who are keen to strike deals with the UK as soon as possible." He added that the Government "will recruit and train many more trade experts so that we are match fit to negotiate the best for Britain."

Fox explained that while the UK remains a member of the European Union (EU) it will continue to support the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada. However, he said: "We are moving away from an era when multilateral agreements dominate the landscape to one where bilateral free trade agreements and plurilateral agreements between small numbers of countries becoming more common."

Turning to the broader benefits of the UK's decision to leave the EU, Fox stressed that Brexit "gives us back control of our trade policy to set our own terms with the rest of the world. We will have the opportunity to make our tax systems even more competitive, take an axe to red tape that can hinder businesses, and shape a bright future for the UK as a beacon for open trade."

He concluded: "I want to reiterate that we have nothing to fear from forging our own free trade environment and breaking out on our own. We can start afresh, and use our unique attributes to create a fairer, prosperous, and more open trading future for the UK and the rest of the world. The UK will remain a fantastic place with which to do business: investment will continue to flow and British goods will still adorn the supermarket shelves and homes of customers around the world."

"We can be a beacon of hope for open trade. We will seize the world of opportunity out there waiting for us. And we are very much open for business. We are optimistic, and we are confident."

TAGS: tax | investment | business | free trade agreement (FTA) | trade treaty | United Kingdom | agreements | Canada | trade | European Union (EU) | Europe | Invest

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