From The Top

Five things we know about Liam Fox’s likely approach to trade policy

Hannah Wilkinson | 14 July 2016 | 8 years ago

Liam Fox trade
Liam Fox has been named secretary of state for international trade
Best known for having to resign in disgrace after it became apparent hed let his friend Adam Werrity live rent-free in his taxpayer funded flat and accompany him on 18 foreign business trips without security clearance, Liam Fox is something of a wildcard in his new role as international trade secretary. Business Advice dug deep to uncover what the new appointment might be planning.

(1) He’s not scared of tariffs

countries do not trade with countries; companies sell to consumers, Fox argued in a pro-Brexit speech in parliament in March 2016.

they will sell to consumers when they have products of the appropriate quality at the appropriate price. The worst case scenario is having World Trade Organisation tariffs, but sterling’s depreciation since November was a far bigger change in the financial costs to business than anything tariffs could produce.

(2) He wants to strengthen our relationship with Russia and China?

perhaps the most telling statistic set out by those who argue that Britain could not manage economically outside the current structures is that Britain exports more to the Republic of Ireland than to China and Russia combined, Fox argued in speech to the Taxpayers’ Alliance in 2012.

I would turn this argument on its head. What does it tell us about our horizons that we still export more to a country with a population of 4.6m than we do to Russia with a population of 139 million or China with a population over one billion, one of the world’s fastest-growing consumer markets. He said in a speech Taxpayers’ Alliance at St Stephen’s Club, Westminster In 2012

(3) but is unlikely to make much headway with Pakistan

In an article published in the Daily Mail in 2013, the former defense secretary called the South Asian economy of 182m the most dangerous country in the world? something which didnt go down well with Pakistan’s high commissioner to London, who slammed his regretfully myopic vision.

(4) He champions small exporters

In 2014, Fox helped a farmer in Abbots Leigh, an area of his North Somerset constituency, win 200, 000 of EU funding to convert an existing building into a high-tech plant for making halloumi.

“I’m delighted. Not only to have helped rejuvenate a local enterprise and create local jobs but to have used EU money to help a UK business to export to Europe is particularly satisfying, he told the Bristol Post.

(5) He’s not scared of standing up to the White House

Keen to undermine Barack Obama’s influence in the pre-referendum Brexit debate, Fox organized a letter signed by 100 MPs to the US ambassador to Britain, Matthew Barzun, urging the president not to intervene in the British referendum debate.

The move followed a warning from the president that the UK would be at the back of the queue? when it came to negotiating a trade deal with the US, highlighting that securing an agreement with the EU would take priority.

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