Liam Fox: Britain already in trade deal talks with 12 other countries
Britain has already struck up informal trade talks with 12 nations across the globe, Cabinet minister Liam Fox has revealed.
The International Trade Secretary said the UK was conducting “trade audits” to get deals ready for when the UK plans to leave the EU in 2019.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph he said the UK had taken its “first steps to establishing ourselves as the champions of free trade” and branded Brexit the “key” to British prosperity.
As she laid out her grand plan for Brexit on Tuesday, Theresa May suggested the UK could leave the EU customs union after Brexit, allowing it to create new trade deals with others.
The same paper reports that the Government is having discussions with China, India, Australia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Oman, among others.
Dr Fox wrote: “We are conducting trade audits with a number of countries to see how we can remove barriers to trade and investment to our mutual benefit.
“We need maximum freedom to achieve this which is why the Prime Minister was right to rule out full Customs Union membership.
“There is a big world for us to do business with, and we intend to do just that. We should do so with considerable self-confidence.”
He added: “This government will never compromise on the prosperity of the United Kingdom, but sees that Brexit is not a threat to that prosperity, but the key.
“In a globalised world, Britain must stand ready to trade, to build a free and open network of commerce and trust that will not only safeguard our nation’s prosperity, but spread wealth across the world.
“We have taken our first steps to establishing ourselves as the champions of free trade and taking our place, once again, as one of the greatest open trading nations in the world.”
At the World Economic Forum at the Swiss resort of Davos this week, the Prime Minister will tell world leaders Britain is “open for business” as it begins to move towards Brexit.
But those who campaigned for Remain at the EU referendum argue new trade deals with other countries could take years to formalise.