There is a time beyond Brexit and a world beyond Europe.
When we leave the EU we will have an independent trade policy covering goods and services. This means we will be able to strike ambitious trade deals with the rest of the world when we leave the EU. This is a win for British sovereignty and a win for British businesses and shoppers.
So when we leave the European Union on 29 March 2019 my team at the Department for International Trade will get to work negotiating, signing and ratifying new free trade agreements.
On top of all this, around the world consumers are already buying British goods and services in record numbers. In 2017 UK goods exports increased by 10.6%.
At the same time, global investors are showing renewed confidence in post-Brexit Britain. The UK remains the top destination in Europe, and third in the world, for foreign direct investment and it created nearly 76,000 jobs were created last year, which is an increase on the year before.
Countries around the world are queueing up at our door to get a new trade agreement. The US has already notified Congress of their intention to start trade talks. Right now, their Trade Representative has an open call to the American public asking what their negotiation objectives should look like. New Zealand and Australia are also getting ready to begin talks as soon as we leave.
Big economies like Canada, Japan and South Korea have also said they want to do more agreements with us in future. They want them to be bigger and better than the ones they’ve got or are negotiating with the EU.
We will also continue benefitting from trade agreements with more than 70 countries. We’ve been clear that if a country already has an agreement with the EU, we will roll this into UK law. This means businesses will be able keep trading as they are today. All of the new agreements we strike will go above and beyond what we already have.
On top of this, some of the largest trade blocs in the world want Britain on their side. We’ve been told that we will be ‘welcomed with open arms’ into CPTPP, the new Pacific trade agreement, especially by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
This would bring us closer to the Asia-Pacific region and some of the fastest growing economies in the world. It’s a trade bloc currently worth around £1 in £7 of the global economy and it’s only going to get bigger.
But there is a much bigger prize at stake. There are increased protectionism tendencies among some of the world’s biggest players. This is a threat to our shared security and prosperity. Trade wars will make us all poorer. It is in the interests of every family and household in Britain that we fight a good fight.
By striking new trade agreements and forging strong alliances, we will make sure that free trade prevails. Britain will be outward looking and forward thinking. We will be a voice of progress and reason on the global stage. People up and down the UK will be better off because of it.
Liam Fox is the Secretary of State for International Trade, president of the Board of Trade, and Conservative MP for North Somerset