Sunday 25 October 2020

Liz Truss: Post-Brexit trade deals can help 'turbocharge' the economy

Here's some guff from Liz Truss, printed in the Telegraph just before a UK-Japan trade deal was announced. The deal will turbocharge our economy, apparently, by boosting UK GDP by, er, 0.07%.

Post-Brexit trade deals will turn the North East into "Singapore on Tyne", the International Trade Secretary has said, as ministers target former Labour heartlands to "turbocharge" the economy.

Liz Truss believes a trade deal with Japan, which she will formally sign in Tokyo on Friday, will pave the way for Britain to join a Trans-Pacific trading bloc that will soon be bigger than the EU.

It will enable the UK to negotiate tailor-made deals with the Far East that will sweep away regulatory barriers and take advantage of new rules on free ports to cut tariffs and red tape.

Ms Truss told The Telegraph she is also confident of a trade deal with the US regardless of who wins next month’s presidential election, as she revealed she has held detailed discussions with supporters of Joe Biden alongside talks with Donald Trump.

As Britain enters its second day of intensified trade negotiations with the EU, Ms Truss’s vision of future trade will serve as a reminder to Brussels that Europe will play an ever-decreasing part in the UK’s economy.

She said: "The fact is, the growth in the world is coming from the Pacific and the Americas, and those opportunities are now open to us.

"In the EU we were in the trade slow lane - we weren't able to achieve British-shaped deals that reflected our unique strengths as a country."

Having signed a deal with Japan, Ms Truss’s sights are now set on the UK joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, which includes Australia, Canada, Malaysia and Mexico, as well as tying up a deal with the US.

Ms Truss, the longest-serving member of the Cabinet, believes former Labour red wall" seats, now dubbed "blue wall" seats by her, will thrive as start-up companies see the arteries of trade unblocked.

She said: "This is about Singapore on Tyne, it's about turbocharging our successful industries that we've already got in parts of the country like the North East.

"Newcastle is a hub of computer gaming firms - Assassin’s Creed was developed there - but at the moment there are lots of barriers to selling into foreign markets.

"For example if you want to sell games to download, many countries insist on the firms having a server physically in that country, for instance, whereas we will negotiate deals that mean they can have just one server in the UK.

"Or look at Blyth, where there's a company called Tharsus, which produces all the software and robotics for Ocado, and it is selling into the US, it's selling that product around the world.

"So you could have a free port there to sell the robots, and digital agreements with other countries to sell the software."

The 11 countries that currently make up the TTP account for 13 per cent of global GDP, compared with 16 per cent for the EU (before the UK left) and eight per cent of UK trade. Ms Truss believes that proportion will only rise as time goes on.

She said: "We've had positive discussions with senior Democrats in Congress. They are supportive of the trade deal, I'm confident that whatever the outcome of the election, there is a positive path forward and there is a deal to be done with the United States."


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