Trade minister to set out vision
Fox points to ‘golden opportunity’ for UK trade
In his first set-piece speech on the government’s position, he said the country was being presented with new openings on world trade, hinting at new trade deals outwith the EU.
Mr Fox is believed to be in favour of a ‘hard’ Brexit, which does not concede to the demands required for access to the EU’s single market.
“Today we stand on the verge of an unprecedented ability to liberate global trade for the benefit for our whole planet,” he said.
“The UK has a golden opportunity to forge a new role for ourselves in world, one which puts the British people first.
“Fair trade is fundamental to the prosperity of the United Kingdom and the world economy,” he added.
He was expected to indicate that the free movement of people is not politically acceptable to the UK following an immigration-influenced vote to leave the EU, a move that would make full access to the single market difficult.
He did not address the issue during his speech.
Mr Fox said Britain would not be excluded by the EU, nor penalised for being outside the ‘club’ because of its size and influence in the global economy.
He said Britain was the fifth largest economy in the world; strong with record employment.
“Trade is back at the heart of the government’s agenda,” he said.
His comments come as the Institute for Government think tank has criticised the current ad hoc approach to Brexit and has urged Prime Minister Theresa May to clarify the government’s strategy.
After her appointment she set up a government ministry to oversee the exit process under David Davis, and installed other leading Eurosceptics Boris Johnson and Mr Fox into the Foreign Office and a new international trade department respectively.
Hannah White, a programme director at the institute said: “The current situation – where we are left to interpret personal musings of individual ministers – is frustrating those looking for an early exit, perplexing those with whom we have to negotiate and unsettling those looking to do business in the UK.”