Downing Street slaps down Liam Fox after he criticised the export record of UK companies
Downing Street has defended the record of British firms trading with foreign companies - after Liam Fox accused them of not doing enough to export their goods around the globe.
In an interview with The House magazine, the International Trade Secretary said the reluctance of some firms to do business with foreign companies was hampering his efforts to boost the economy.
He said: "We’re still way behind where our economy needs to be. So, we need to think about how we can make our economy export ready, and more investment ready as well, and how we get more of our companies to think about exporting overseas.
"I can agree as many trade agreements as I like, but if British business doesn’t want to export, then that doesn’t do us any good."
But in an apparent rejection of Dr Fox's comments, a spokesman for Theresa May insisted the UK "has a good record for exports".
"We're running a successful campaign to sell more overseas," he said. "We're committed to helping British firms take the opportunities available both now and after Brexit.
"What we're focused on is ensuring we're doing more to help British businesses export, and in the Budget there were a number of measures along those lines.
"Exports rose by 13.6% to £602bn in the latest year to year figures, so we want to build on that and continue to help exporters."
It is not the first time that Dr Fox has landed in hot water over remarks about British business.
Speaking earlier this year, he said Britain has "become too lazy and too fat", and that bosses prefer playing golf on Friday afternoons to working.