George Osborne, the UK's chancellor of the exchequer, has embarked on a trip to the United States in a bid to build a closer trading relationship with North America following the Brexit vote in last month's referendum on membership of the European Union.
“Vital work will begin today on building stronger economic and trade relationships with the UK’s closest trading partners,” the Treasury in London said in a statement on Monday.
Mr Osborne will be holding talks with major Wall Street investors and is also hoping to initiate discussions with members of the North American Free Trade Agreement bloc – the US, Canada and Mexico – about forging stronger ties following the referendum vote.
Since that vote, Business Secretary Sajid Javid has led trade talks in India and, nest week, Mr Osborne will lead a trade mission to Singapore and China in a bid to build post-Brexit economic ties.
“While Britain’s decision to leave the EU clearly presents economic challenges, we now have to do everything we can to make the UK the most attractive place in the world to do business,” Mr Osborne, who campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU, said in the statement.
“We will continue to be a beacon for free trade, democracy and security, more open to that world than ever. Our economic trade ties with North America must now become stronger. "My message is simple, Britain may be leaving the EU, but we are not withdrawing from the world. Britain will be a beacon for free trade, democracy and security, more open to that world than ever."”
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he added, "There will be no immediate changes to our relationship with the EU, or the way our goods can move or the way our services can be sold.
"Britain won't be rushed; we will take our time to determine the trading arrangements with our European allies outside their political union. I want to see the best possible terms of trade in goods and services, including financial services.
"But having been the voice for free trade inside the EU, we now intend to be its voice across the world. For first time in 40 years, the UK will be setting its own trade terms.
"So we should begin the conversation now with the US, and with the members of the North American Free Trade Agreement, about how we can deliver even closer economic ties.
"I have spoken to House Speaker Paul Ryan several times in the past two weeks about a stronger trading relationship – and this week I will welcome Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to London to see what more we can do together."
As Mr Osborne flew to New York on Monday, Boeing announced it would build a £100 million facility for the P-8A Poseidon military aircraft at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland and make the UK its European base for training, maintenance, repair and overhaul across its defence fixed-wing and rotary platforms.
The move will mean a doubling of Boeing's workforce in the UK, where it currently employs 2,000 staff. Boeing also pledged to increase the bid opportunities it offers to UK suppliers.
Prime Minister David Cameron said, "I want the UK to continue to be at the forefront of the global aerospace industry, both civil and defence.
"That's why I'm delighted that we can announce today a long-term strategic initiative with Boeing that will create thousands of jobs, secure investment in R&D and create opportunities for the supply chain, as well as delivering on our defence commitments.
"Boeing is one of the world's most respected aerospace companies. This long-term commitment shows the UK is open for business, and attractive for investment."
Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing's chairman, added: "Boeing is committed to the UK government's prosperity agenda and we share the goals of enhanced economic growth that the prime minister has set out to us."
Read analysis of what the vote to leave the EU may mean for for the global mobility industry in Brexit is a reality – a new era for global mobility? by Relocate Global's managing editor, Fiona Murchie.
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