Dr Liam Fox MP: The world is ignoring the Brexit doomsayers, so should we
Secretary of State for International Trade Dr Liam Fox MP writes ahead of today's Board of Trade meeting in Stirling that 'A truly global Britain, able to determine an independent trade policy, will be in a position to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead'.
If you believed the Brexit doomsayers, you would conclude that Britain must be a terrible place: no jobs, a stagnant economy and no future unless we stay eternally bound to the European Union.
Fortunately for us all, they could not be more wrong. We have a record rate of employment. Our economy has grown every year since 2010, UK exports are booming and investment continues to flood into the UK, a huge vote of confidence in our economic future.
Global investors are clamouring for opportunities in the UK. That is why I am today launching a shop window to showcase investment opportunities for backers from across the globe.
The Department for International Trade (DIT), which I am proud to lead, is opening an online window that will shine a light on £30 billion of hidden investment opportunities to overseas investors, at invest.great.gov.uk. These range from the Titanic Quarter in Belfast to Queen’s Square in Aberdeen, via Stockport Exchange and Anglesey.
This investment will boost the economy across the United Kingdom, creating more and better jobs now and in the future, and regenerating public spaces across the country. Foreign direct investment has flooded into the UK in recent years, with our stock increasing by over 75% since 2010. Last year saw a record number of foreign direct investment projects landed in the UK, a sign of confidence from international investors in our economic future.
The jobs secured by foreign investment means 108,000 people and their families are benefitting from secure and stable work, contributing to the record employment that we currently enjoy.
At today’s Board of Trade meeting in Stirling, I will update prominent business and political figures on the work my department has been doing with tens of thousands of companies in the UK and around the world, promoting trade, investment and our trade policy. As I will say to them, whether I visit a factory in Cumbria or an insurance firm in London or an infrastructure investor in the United States, one thing is clear: Britain is truly open for business.
Our highly-skilled workforce, legal system, ease of doing business, government support for industry and our proud trading culture make us an attractive country in which to do business. Just as investors come to our shores wanting to drive money into our economy, creating jobs and growth, British business, too, is investing around the globe, building up our own stock of investment, creating financial flows back to the UK.
These investments will create real jobs: just one, the Axiom Regional Shopping Centre in Castleford, would deliver 2,000 new jobs for Yorkshire.
Because that is what international trade is about. My fellow Scot Adam Smith articulated it centuries ago, but it bears repeating now more than ever: trade is one of the key means by which we can spread prosperity, not only for the developed world but so that we can offer hope to developing nations that they can have, through trade, a sustainable path out of poverty.
A truly global Britain, able to determine an independent trade policy, will be in a position to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead, opening and showcasing the UK to the world and creating the prosperity that future generations will depend on.