Britain, US and Canada can lead the world in liberty and free trade, says Liam Fox
In a major speech in Canada, Dr Fox has hailed an “exciting new era” for Britain and the world as the UK throws off the shackles of Brussels in the next two years.
He joked that his department, which was only created nine months ago and now has 1,000 staff, is the “biggest start up in British history” as the UK sets out to start negotiating trade deals again.
His speech came after the European Commission admitted that it wants Britain to have a similar trade deal as the much vaunted one it signed with Canada late last year.
Dr Fox hailed 'an exciting new era' for Britain and the world
We have every intention of continuing to honour its clauses as the United Kingdom opens a new chapter in its history
The concession by EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmström underlined that threats to “punish” Britain for Brexit are being quietly dropped in Brussels with hardliners including European Parliament chief negotiator Guy Verhofstadt sidelined.
Dr Fox told his audience of politicians and business leaders in Canada that he is confident of getting a free trade deal with the EU.
He also promised that the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) signed between the EU and Canada can be improved on with the UK once it leaves the EU.
He pointed out that CETA is worth around £1.3 billion a year to the UK
CETA gives Canada 98 per cent tariff free trade with the single market but it does not have free movement of people and does not pay any money to the european Commission.
Dr Fox said: “The signing of CETA at the end of last year was a great moment for global free trade, coming as it does at a time when a chorus of protectionism is rising across the world.
“It was a particular moment of pride for the United Kingdom, and for many in our Government and public services who have worked tirelessly for years to ensure its smooth passage.”
He pointed out that CETA is worth around £1.3 billion a year to the UK, and some £7.3 billion from the EU to Canada.
He said: “We have every intention of continuing to honour its clauses as the United Kingdom opens a new chapter in its history.
He added: “We will also seek, as far as possible, to replicate the EU trading schedules as we take our independent seat in the WTO, maintaining current tariff levels with a view to seeking further liberalisation over time.”
Heralding the prospects for the future he said the UK Government is “greatly encouraged” by the Trump administration’s desire to have a free trade deal quickly with Britain.
He said: “The UK is as committed to free and open trade with the US as we are with Canada.
EUROSCEPTICISM: Who are the most eurosceptic countries?
Mon, January 16, 2017
EUROSCEPTICISM, meaning criticism of the European Union (EU). Rising disenchantment with the dealings of EU is not just confined to the UK…
1 of 8
“The three-way trading and investment alliance between Canada, the UK and the USA is vitally important not only to our own prosperity, but to the stability of the free trading world.”
He also made it clear that while Britain wants to have a good relationship with what remains of the EU, it is time to “reforge” its relations with old allies including Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as other parts of the Commonwealth.
South Africa has already made it clear this week that it wants to have free trade deal struck quickly with the UK.