Politico: UK Brexit Secretary Forcefully Defends Free Trade

Friday, September 1, 2017 - 12:15pm

An independent United Kingdom will aim to become an international leader in liberalizing markets and boosting free trade, particularly in the services sector, once it completes its exit from the European Union, a top UK official said in Washington on Friday.

Speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, David Davis, the U.K.’s Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, warned against what he called a trend in the international community “to reduce rather than intensify our cooperation on matters of trade,” arguing the free flow of goods has led to a world that is “unequivocally better off."

“For both the UK and the U.S., the major target of that effort should be liberalization of the services sector,” Davis said. “Doing so gives us the potential to revitalize productivity and growth, but we must work together to convince other countries of the benefits.”

Asked whether UK officials had been able to convince President Donald Trump and the U.S. administration of the benefits of the services sector — which Trump often overlooks to focus instead only on trade in goods — Davis said that was something U.K. Trade Secretary Liam Fox “has been working very hard on.

“It’s natural in politics for people to focus on the obvious — it’s easy to see lots of cars crossing the border or whatever,” he said, noting it was harder to see the “virtual world of services.” But, he added, “you may be sure that’s one of our priorities.”

Davis’ speech, delivered across the street from the White House and widely praised by business leaders in attendance, was the only public aspect of his trip to Washington.

Read more at Politico.com.