Liam Fox – 2018 Speech in India

Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, in India on 11 January 2018.

Thank you Richard [Richard Heald],

Honourable Minister Prabhu, distinguished speakers, ladies and gentlemen.

I am delighted to welcome you all here today, at the 12th meeting of the India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO).

I look forward to what promises to be an insightful discussion with business leaders of both countries.

I would also like to welcome Minister Prabhu to London, for his first visit as Minister of Commerce and Industry – and thank him for the fascinating and productive conversation that we have held.

I would also like to thank the chairs of the joint working groups on smart cities and advanced manufacturing and engineering. I look forward to hearing the outcomes from the business-led joint working groups shortly.

And I would particularly like to welcome the visiting delegation from Pune led by Municipal Commissioner Mr Kunal Kumar. I very much enjoyed my own visit to the city last year.

The United Kingdom is a champion of free trade – and it is the task of my department to work with our most important partners to remove barriers and promote commercial freedoms across the world.

Today is an opportunity for India and the UK to work together, not only to strengthen our own partnership, but to rise to meet the challenges of the future.

UK-India trade and investment

India and the UK are, in PM Modi’s own words, an “unbeatable combination”.

Both countries have a shared interest in each other’s prosperity, generating jobs, developing skills, and enhancing the competitiveness of the two economies.

Our vibrant business communities are instrumental in maintaining and strengthening the partnership between our two countries, building upon strong ties encompassing trade and culture.

Bilateral trade between the 2 countries has grown over the last 10 years and was £15.4 billion in 2016.

And trade grew by a remarkable 15% in the first 3 quarters of 2017, compared to the same period in 2016.

Our commercial links span a wide variety of sectors, from life sciences and medical technology, to food and drink, energy, defence and culture.

Our trade in services includes not only IT and professional services – but significant trade in financial services, with the City of London playing a key role in raising capital to support India’s infrastructure growth.

I was delighted to open the London Stock Exchange last year with Finance Minister Jaitley. Over 80% of masala bond issuances to date have taken place in London, to a value of more than $3.9 billion.

We also have exceptionally strong investment links. The UK has been the largest G20 investor in India over the last 10 years, more than any other EU country. There are over 270 British companies operating there, employing nearly 800,000 people.

The CBI estimates that UK companies are creating one in every 20 jobs in India’s organised private sector. This includes well known investors such as Vodafone, BP, HSBC, Standard Chartered, G4S and Unilever – but also new investors such as Dyson, who plan to launch their products in India in 2018.

I welcome yesterday’s announcement by Prime Minister Modi to further liberalise FDI policy, especially for single brand retailers.

And I welcome the reforms that Minister Prabhu and his team are taking to improve the ease of doing business in India – leading to a 30 point jump in the World Bank’s Index this year. The UK is proud of its partnership with India on the ease of doing business, including co-hosting a national conference in 2016.

With a vote of confidence in the unshakeable strength of the UK economy, India is also the source of significant investment and jobs in the UK.

In 2016, approximately 800 Indian companies were operating in the UK, accounting for around 110,000 jobs and recording combined revenues of £47.5 billion.

In the same year, India established 127 new investment projects in the UK, adding 4,000 new jobs and safeguarding more jobs than any other country.

What is particularly pleasing is the size and range of Indian investors who already consider the UK their home.

This includes well-known companies such as Tata Sons, owners of TCS and Jaguar Land Rover, Wipro, Infosys and Genpact alongside many others.

This government is putting its money where its mouth is in response to India’s technology investment demands. In 2016, I was delighted to attend the UK-India Tech Summit in Delhi, along with the Prime Minister.

The UK boasts some 58,000 technology firms. In the last year, more venture capital was invested in London than in Germany, France, Spain and Ireland combined.

And last November, with the support of the Indian High Commission and UKIBC, DIT ran the India-UK ‘Future Tech month’ where more than 60 of India’s most innovative tech companies and buyers criss-crossed the UK’s regional tech and manufacturing centres of excellence set out in the Industrial Strategy.

This will be followed by the UK-India Createch Summit in Mumbai.

People to people links

Our business links are strengthened by the people to people links between our countries – what Prime Minister Modi has described as a ‘Living Bridge’.

I noted with pride that 33 people of Indian origin were recognised in the UK’s New Year’s Honours list, including Professor Pratibha Laxman GAI who grew up in India and studied in the UK and went on to pioneer electron microscopy applications in chemistry.

Our 2 governments want to do more to encourage these innovative links between people and industry in both countries.

Ambitions for UK-India trade

All of this shows that we already have a strong base to build on.

However, Minister Prabhu and I both believe that there is scope for us to go further.

We share a vision for a deep and dynamic partnership in which the 2 governments and business work hand-in-hand to achieve shared prosperity for India and the UK.

In particular, as we leave the European Union, there is the opportunity for both countries to enhance this partnership – opening up new sectors for business and minimising barriers to trade.

The UK will deepen its support to India, helping the country continue its positive trajectory on ease of doing business. In particular, we aim to strengthen our relationships in the areas of energy, smart cities and financial services, whilst at the same time addressing the critical issue of skills.

And it is to help achieve this joint prosperity, that – at the 11th meeting of the UK-India JETCO in Delhi at the end of 2016 – we agreed to set up a new Joint Working Group on Trade.

We tasked this working group with identifying practical ways to broaden and deepen the trade relationship between both countries, both now and as we leave the EU.

The joint working group is therefore undertaking a joint trade review, an evidence-based assessment of the trading relationship, and the first report came back to Minister Prabhu and myself today.

The review, and its next phase, will provide an important platform, identifying those key sectors where more progress can most readily be made.

We also welcomed the news that UK Export Finance will increase its support for trade with India. This will provide an additional £2.75 billion in support for UK companies exporting to India and for Indian buyers of UK goods and services, and be available in Indian Rupees.


Minister Prabhu raised Indian concerns about last year’s changes to the UK’s Tier 2 visa route and I have heard feedback that business stakeholders have shared on this issue.

The UK issues more work visas to India than to all of the other countries in the world combined, and we will continue to welcome skilled workers to the UK.

We have to get the balance right and ensure the process is as transparent and smooth as possible.

Our Immigration Minister visited India in November to open a new visa application centre in Bangalore and today I am pleased that the UK government also welcomes India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiran Rijiju to the UK where he will meet FCO Minister Mark Field.


The kind of dialogue harnessed by these JETCOs provides an ideal opportunity for us to identify where UK-India collaboration can help continue this trend.

I look forward to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit in April as a key opportunity to progress the UK-India trade relationship and boost intra-commonwealth trade.

With intra-Commonwealth trade in goods and services estimated at $687 billion and projected to surpass $1 trillion by 2020, we are committed to working with our friends and allies in the Commonwealth to remove barriers and liberalise the global trading environment.

India is home to more than half the population of the Commonwealth and we recognise the nation’s central role in reenergising the organisation. Now more than ever, it’s time for us to build on our links, to reject protectionism and insularity to embrace an interconnected world.

Final call to businesses

But to achieve a step-change in our trading relationship, your role – the role of business – will continue to be crucial.

My officials will be in touch over the coming months – however, in the meantime, I would like to issue a call to you, as those businesses who already have a lot invested in the UK-India relationship, to get in touch with the Department for International Trade.

We want to understand not only the challenges that you face in increasing trade and investment – but also to work with you to overcome them.

Your ideas today can become our policy tomorrow so, please, let us know what you believe the challenges and opportunities to be.

And by working together to meet these challenges, as governments, as business communities, and as people, we can build a brighter, more prosperous future for India, the UK and the world.

Thank you.

Liam Fox – 2018 Speech on Chinese and British Innovation

Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, on 4 January 2018.

Thank you all for being here tonight.

This evening is an opportunity for Britain and China to come together. A chance to identify our shared ambitions, our mutual strengths and the opportunities we have to work together to shape the future of global trade.

But, first and foremost, we are here tonight to celebrate the upcoming GREAT Festival of Innovation.

The festival, which will take place in March just a few miles away in Hong Kong, will bring together some of the UK and Asia’s most pioneering companies.

It will be a gathering like no other – an opportunity to share innovations that will drive the future of free trade and for businesses to build lifelong partnerships.

It is this spirit of friendship and commonality that I wish to speak to you about tonight.

It is fitting that this evening we are gathered in Shenzhen, a city with innovation in its DNA.

Shenzhen, as the technological capital of China, is the engine room that will power China in the age of the fourth industrial revolution.

In a matter of decades, Shenzhen has transformed from a small fishing village into a dynamic and youthful city with a population of more than 11 million.

Much of this success has been down to this city’s dynamism, and its dedication to technical advancement.

With research and development investment accounting for 4% of GDP – double the national average – and patent applications standing at the highest in China for 10 consecutive years, it cannot be denied that we stand in a city that is unapologetically focused on the future.

Across this city, some of the world’s most talented minds are coming together to design tomorrow’s technology.

Shenzhen is a world-leading producer of drones, electric cars and DNA sequencing machines.

It is clear that this city has much to offer the world.

But I am here this evening to talk about what the United Kingdom can offer Shenzhen.

Yesterday, I had several hours of constructive and positive talks with Commerce Minister Zhong Shan where we discussed the opportunities that result from the complementary nature of our economies.

Technology is clearly one but there are others. Another lies in food and drink.

China will need to ensure that there is a sufficient supply of quality foodstuffs available for its growing population and especially its burgeoning middle class.

Britain will want to ensure better and more predictable incomes for our farmers as we leave the EU so that we can attract investment and improve productivity.

We must work together in the months ahead to ensure that we address any concerns that Chinese authorities have so that the Chinese people can enjoy the benefits that quality UK beef, lamb and poultry can bring. Our already growing exports of food and drink can improve further with the lifting of market access barriers.

There is a great opportunity to be ambitious about our future trading relationship to the benefit of both sides. We will continue to explore all our options together.

When the UK voted in 2016 to leave the European Union, there were many around the world that portrayed the result as a symptom of insularity.

They predicted that Britain would be turning in on itself, abdicating its international responsibilities and severing global ties.

I am here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.

Instead, last year’s referendum vote to leave the European Union has offered us an unprecedented opportunity.

For the first time in more than 4 decades, we have the opportunity to forge new trading partnerships around the world, with old friends and new allies alike.

We are building a Global Britain – a country that champions commercial freedoms, prizes international talent, and helps the world’s most dynamic and innovative enterprises to reach their potential.

We want to see companies, like those that join us today, succeed. We want to see Shenzhen succeed.

As shown by figures from the Shenzhen Statistics Bureau, UK-Shenzhen trade is already worth more than US$6 billion a year and the UK is the largest EU source of Foreign Direct Investment to the city – with investments totalling around US$1.4 billion.

Likewise, the innovative firms that have made Shenzhen their home are growing their businesses in the UK, with Huawei alone employing more than 1,500 staff across the UK.

The UK and Shenzhen share common strengths. Fintech, information and communications technology, advanced healthcare, artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing and clean energy are all industries in which we are both seeking to blaze a trail.

These areas of commonality mean opportunities for our businesses. Opportunities for UK and Chinese firms of all sizes to trade with one another, to share expertise and to secure investment.

Indeed this evening we’re very lucky to be joined by some of the excellent British food and drink manufacturers who are meeting the growing demand from Chinese consumers. If you haven’t done so already I would urge you to sample the delicious products being showcased today, including smoked salmon from H. Forman & Son, cider from Brothers, cheese from Somerdale, and ale from Badger.

In 2016 China became the ninth largest importer of British food and drink and early figures for 2017 show a move to eighth place.

Tonight, and all through the Great Festival of Innovation, we come together to fortify our bonds and fundamentally to support one another to achieve our ambitions.

Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is our acknowledgement that our destiny lies not only in our valued friendship with Europe, but also the wider world.

Earlier I quoted some rather impressive statistics relating to UK-Shenzhen trade and investment. These figures, while heartening, fail to show the real impact and value of trade.

Trade and investment creates jobs, supports the livelihoods of real people, means the food and clothes that we buy in the shops are more affordable and that businesses can grow and thrive.

In short, it means for us a more prosperous Britain and a more secure world.

That is why, far from retreating from the world, we are extending the hand of friendship beyond the borders of Europe.

Being a globally minded country is in our very nature. We are in the right time zone to trade with Asia in the morning and America in the afternoon. We champion business-friendly regulation, are home to the world’s leading financial sector, are the number one destination for inward investment in Europe and boast some of the world’s best universities that bring students from across the world together.

In the first full year since the referendum we saw the highest number of foreign direct investment projects into the United Kingdom in our history, a 13.5% rise in our exports and record employment. A vote of confidence from global investors.

Last year our government launched a modern industrial strategy for the United Kingdom. It is a long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK.

It focuses on the 5 foundations of productivity: ideas, people, infrastructure, business environment and places.

The strategy sets out how we are building a Britain fit for the future and how we will respond to the technological revolution taking place across the world.

Technology will disrupt nearly every sector in every country, creating new opportunities and challenges.

We, like our partners in Shenzhen, are focused on seizing these opportunities. From the data-driven economy to the future of mobility, we want to back visionary businesses to make their mark.

As you will see there are many parallels between the United Kingdom’s modern Industrial Strategy and the new area strategy for Guangdong.

We both share the ambition of supporting our industries to be world leaders in research, manufacturing, life sciences and high technology.

We also have a shared understanding of the vital role that transport and infrastructure play in driving productivity.

While of course there any many ways in which our worlds differ, it is impossible not to be struck by the commonality.

That is why I truly believe the UK and the Greater Bay Area can and should work together to achieve these great aims and to be partners as we nurture innovation-driven economies.

The scale of opportunity for UK business to export to, partner with, and invest in this region is unrivalled.

My department, which is responsible for trade and investment, wants to offer more support to those UK companies who see China as their trading partner of the future, and to do more to engage with Chinese investors, encouraging them to take advantage of opportunities in the UK.

That is exactly why in March we will be hosting the GREAT Festival of Innovation in Hong Kong. I hope many of you will be there joining hundreds of other international business leaders and investors.

The festival will showcase the very best of British and Asian innovations in how we will learn, live, work and play in the future across multiple sectors.

It will be a meeting of brilliant minds. It will provide an opportunity for British and Asian visionaries to forge new trade links and strengthen existing relationships.

The event will be the third in a series of successful GREAT festivals in 5 years, following the success of the GREAT Festivals of Creativity in Istanbul in 2014 and Shanghai in 2015, with the latter generating over £800 million in business.

I look forward to welcoming you all to the festival, to join the most exciting, dynamic and successful companies that the Asian tech sector has to offer.

I hope this evening I have imparted some of the optimism that my colleagues and I feel at this juncture in our history. It is a new, exciting chapter for the United Kingdom, but also for our valued friendship with Shenzhen and China. The opportunities and the prizes of the future are there to be shared together.

Thank you.

Liam Fox – 2017 Speech at WTO

Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, at the WTO meeting held in Argentina on 11 December 2017.

Mr Chairman, I congratulate Argentina for hosting this conference so efficiently and so well.

This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the signing of the GATT.

We have made many changes and great strides since then but we face constant challenges in keeping the multilateral system relevant.

What hasn’t changed over the decades is the United Kingdom’s unwavering support for free trade, for the multilateral trading system and for seeking continuous improvement in how we conduct global commerce.

I look forward to the UK taking a more prominent role in the WTO as we leave the European Union. And I pledge here to respect our existing WTO commitments and obligations to the WTO Membership as we leave the EU.

I see 3 priorities for us here in Buenos Aires.

First, we need to continue to promote trade as the main tool of development.

As the world’s developing and emerging economies have liberalised their trade practices, prosperity has spread across the globe, bringing growth, opportunity and stability where once there was only poverty.

In this regard, I strongly welcome the entry into force of the Trade Facilitation Agreement earlier this year.

The UK has programmed £180 million in supporting developing countries implement the TFA, between 2013 and 2022.

Second, I welcome the focus on digital trade here at MC11.

I believe that WTO Members must address digital trade issues, including through new rules. We should not wait any longer for ignoring the fast-changing digital landscape risks the credibility of this organisation.

We need to set rules for digital trade that deliver for developing and developed members alike. We need rules that offer the potential of greater participation by women in global trade. And we need rules that support e-commerce as a driver for economic growth. E-commerce and digital trade offer enormous opportunities for countries large and small, developed and developing – an empowering tool for women and SMEs in particular.

Our third priority should be regulation. As tariffs have come down and trade in services has increased, non-tariff measures are increasingly the main source of frustration for companies wanting to do business in other jurisdictions.

Predictability and access based on regulatory outcomes are what matter for businesses and consumers. There is much useful work we could be doing in this area, such as in domestic regulation on services.

Finally, to support us in this work, we need much better data on trade – data which truly reflects what is happening in the global economy where supply chains are increasingly complex.

I strongly support the joint work of the OECD and the WTO in the area of Trade in Value Added. The UK has been and will continue to be a leading voice on this issue.

I am hopeful we will look back at the time we have spent in this beautiful city as the moment when we acknowledged the need for increased urgency in our work. I am hopeful that this urgency will, in turn, lead to a new dynamism in our collective endeavour to update and strengthen the multilateral trading system upon which we all rely.

Thank you.

Liam Fox – 2017 Speech on Israel

Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, on 10 October 2017.

Good morning.

It is an honour to be here today to address the Jewish Care business breakfast, and to join the distinguished list of speakers who have addressed this gathering.

Over the course of my career I have had the pleasure to speak at many charitable gatherings, for a wide variety of good and noble causes.

I’m not sure I have ever, though, addressed a charity which is as comprehensive in its philanthropy as Jewish Care.

And your organisation not only provides important care for the elderly members of the Jewish community, but also for those with dementia, disabilities, or mental health issues.

You even provide leadership opportunities for young people, helping them to develop vital life skills.

Before I entered parliament, I worked as a GP. I have experienced first had how much of a difference charitable organisations like Jewish Care can make, caring for the most vulnerable people in our society.

It is work that is, sadly, too often overlooked by those without direct experience of it. Yet charities can provide targeted care within communities, often reaching parts where the state cannot.

For those of you in a generous mood, there are few organisations more worthy of your munificence.

I know that you have not invited the Secretary of State for International Trade here to wax lyrical about the virtues of Jewish Care, or of charity in general.

But I do see a clear connection between trade and philanthropy.

Without the prosperity that trade engenders, charitable organisations could not flourish, yet there is also a more immediate connection.

The great rabbinical philosopher, Moses Maimonides wrote that:

The highest level of Tzedakah or Charity, is that which enables the recipient to become self-reliant.

For millions of the world’s poorest people, trade has meant exactly that.

As economies across the world have liberalised, opportunities for employment, or commerce, have lifted billions from poverty.

According to the World Bank, the three decades between 1981 and 2011 witnessed the single greatest decrease in material deprivation in human history – a truly remarkable achievement.

It is hard to imagine an international aid programme – even one as generous as our own – that would or could have been so effective.

It was no coincidence that this period coincided with the great liberalised economies of India and China opening up to the world.

At a fundamental level, free and open trade allows people to improve their own lives, allowing the individual to access global opportunities. It delivers employment, goods and services, often where they are needed most.

Across the world, trade has created prosperity, where once there was only deprivation.

Of course, the United Kingdom has benefitted vastly from centuries of trade, and its promotion comes with a degree of economic self-interest.

We must recognise, though, that there is also an equally strong social and moral case for the defence of trading freedoms.

And I say ‘social’ because whilst trade has delivered vast benefits to those in developing countries, it has also has a transformative effect on the lives of our own people.

Although it might not always be noticed, the wider benefits of a liberal trade policy have spread to British consumers and households by providing a wider choice of goods at a lower price.

Free trade is not only vital in ensuring that supplies of raw materials and everyday essentials like food and clothing are available in the UK; but it also increases the quality of those products, and helps to drive down prices.

In the decade to 2006, the real import price of clothing fell by 38%. In the same period, the price of consumer electronics, as we all know, fell by 50%, despite all the rapid technological achievements of that period, what went from a $4,000 brick called the mobile phone at that time turns into a super computer in the palm of your hand at a fraction of the price. That is what liberal and open trade can provide.

As a consequence, living standards in this country are now at their highest level in history.

Yet ‘Free Trade’ as a concept is often regarded with suspicion or simple indifference by consumers, who often fail to see how it can make a difference to their lives.

I believe that open, liberal free trade is undeniably a good thing.

It is unfortunate, though, that trading freedoms can no longer be taken for granted.

Last year, the Word Trade Organization estimated that the growth in global trade could be as little as 1.8%, falling below the growth in global GDP. This is the inverse of the normal relationship and it’s unhealthy, history tells us in the long term.

Moreover, research by the OECD that shows that protectionist instincts have grown since the financial crisis of 2008.

In 2010 G7 and G20 countries were operating some 300 non-tariff barriers to trade – by 2015 this had mushroomed to over 1,200.

So clearly, free trade is in need of a champion. The case for commercial freedom must be made at every level.

To consumers we must show that, when a foreign company invests in your area and creates jobs – that is free trade.

When you use a smartphone or a flat-screen TV at a lower price – that is global free trade.

Or when you go to a supermarket and you buy your fruit and meat and vegetables you want all year round, rather than relying on our own seasonal produce – that is global free trade in action.

These benefits often go unrecognised, even at an official level.

Last Spring, I was at the World Economic Forum in Davos, at a meeting of trade minister from the world’s major economies.

It was a full 54 minutes – just shy of an hour – before a single one of the world’s trade ministers said the ‘C-word’. Consumers were never mentioned at that meeting. We have got to also champion the consumer interest and such a state of affairs illustrates perfectly that a wider recognition is needed of the benefits that free trade can bring to ordinary people.

Those who shape international trade policy must no longer see commercial freedoms solely as a means of reaching a narrow macroeconomic advantage, but as a force for social and geopolitical good.

Those countries, like the United Kingdom, who have benefitted the most from free trade, cannot, in good conscience, pull up the drawbridge. There is a moral obligation to pass on the benefits of free trade to our less developed partners, allowing them access to our markets, or our skills and our expertise.

Such a policy would benefit all of humankind.

My Department for International Trade was founded last year to make Britain a global champion of free trade once again.

We are in a unique position to use our economic and diplomatic influence to extend and protect commercial freedoms across the world.

Of course, as a department of state of the UK, our primary purpose is to ensure that global trade bestows its benefits on Britain.

Our vision is of a UK that trades its way to prosperity, stability and security, and our mission is to help businesses export, drive investment, open up markets and champion free trade.

Liberalisation of the global economy is firmly within this country’s interests, and we are ready to take advantage of the historic opportunities that have been presented to this country.

Our departure from the European Union after some 44 years of membership will bring challenges. Yet it will also offer almost limitless possibilities.

For the first time in more than four decades this country will have a fully independent trade policy, to be shaped to best serve the interests of British consumers, British businesses, and the British economy.

The potential of this should not be underestimated. The trading bloc of the European Union has served parts of our economy well, but it is a model that is fundamentally outdated in the age of globalisation.

New technology has reduced the barriers of distance and time, and being tied to other nations simply through geographical proximity is no longer necessary especially in an economy like the UK, which is now 80 % services. The British people have opted not for insularity, but internationalism.

We will soon be in a position to revitalise our existing trade relationships, and to build new connections with those growing economies that will drive prosperity in the 21st century.

Don’t believe me, go and look at the EU’s website. The EU trade page says in the next 10 to 15 years 90% of global growth will be beyond the borders of Europe. That is where we need to be.

To ignore such possibilities would be a great disservice to the British people.

This vision of the future is central to the government’s ambition to build a truly global Britain.

This is about building a country that is a bold, outward-looking champion of free trade.

The UK will lead the defence of the rules-based international system as a newly independent member of the WTO, while forging agreements with partners across the world.

The state of Israel will, of course, be a key partner in that future.

As a longstanding friend of the Israeli people, I was delighted to attend the Tel Aviv in London festival last month.

I was struck by the many similarities between the two cities, not only in their formidable international reputations for technology, innovation and financial services, but in the vibrancy of the culture that we share.

These parallels are indicative of the complimentary nature of the Israeli and UK economies. It is a strong foundation from which to enhance our future relationship.

The UK is already the number one destination in Europe for Israeli investment, with over 300 companies already operating here.

Yet there is more to be done and more to be achieved. One of the things that I am proud of in my department has been the creation of a UK-Israel Trade Working Group, designed to identify and remove barriers to trade between our two countries. This will not only strengthen our bilateral relationship, but provide a strong foundation for further progress upon our exit from the EU, as well as providing greater prosperity, stability and security in Israel itself.

And this is one of the themes that we have across our government because trade is not only done for itself; it provides a prosperity which underpins social cohesion.

That social cohesion helps in turn to underpin political stability and that political stability is a contribution to our wider security.

All of them are parts of a continuum which cannot be disrupted, which is something that both the UK and Israel understand well.

In the extensive travels undertaken by myself and the other departmental ministers in the past 15 months, I have been struck by the sheer level of enthusiasm that exists across the world for Britain’s new role.

Nations are not only lining up to enhance their trading relationship with our country, but also to access our wealth of talent, knowledge and expertise.

Our global brand remains incredibly strong. People want to ‘buy British’ and they want to partner British as well. Globally the commercial prospects for this country have never been brighter and we must embrace them with confidence and optimism.

We are opening a new chapter in our nation’s history, but the story has not yet been written.

I believe that politics is a binary choice. You can either shape the world around you, or you’ll be shaped by the world around you.

The United Kingdom has the ability to shape the world – all we require is the confidence to do it.

My department stands ready to help shape the future of global trade, placing Britain back at its heart.

Free trade may be a centuries-old concept, but it is also the key to projecting this country’s prosperity far into the future.

Sir Winston Churchill once called free trade “a condition of progress”. Once again, the great man’s words have stood the test of time.

It is incumbent upon all of us to defend that progress.

There will be challenges ahead, but we have the ability, the vision and the determination to shape the future as we see fit.

We are not passengers to our own destiny. We can make change happen if we choose to do so and change we will.

Thank you.

Liam Fox – 2017 Speech at Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, at the Conservative Party conference held in Manchester on 3 October 2017.

OK. It’s time for some optimism.

It doesn’t seem like a year since we last met together in Birmingham. When we did so, my Department had been in existence for little over two months.

We had the challenge, but more importantly the wonderful opportunity, to build a new department designed for the trade challenges of the 21st century.
It has been a huge honour to be at the centre of such a historic project and to work alongside some of the most talented and energetic people in our country.

In a short time, we have achieved so much.

We have attracted the brightest and best talent from across Whitehall, the private sector and abroad in order to make sure that we have the skills we need to help British business succeed.

We now have over 3400 DIT personnel including those in 108 posts around the globe, literally working around the clock in our national interest.

But none of this could have been achieved without our parliamentary colleagues: our departmental Whips, Heather Wheeler and Liz Sugg and my outstanding PPS Tom Pursglove; and PPS to our Ministers, Mike Wood.

I’m delighted to welcome Rona Fairhead who joined us as our Minister in the Lords last week, and who will be leading our new export strategy. She follows in the footsteps of Mark Price who is returning to the private sector. Mark, we all owe you a huge debt of gratitude for the tireless work you did for our country.

And I’m thrilled that following the general election I was fortunate enough to retain Greg Hands and Mark Garnier – two of the finest Ministers in Whitehall.

And let’s not forget the invaluable dedication of our tremendous civil servants both here at home, and those in posts abroad, who work tirelessly on behalf of our country and who deserve more thanks than they sometimes get.

We are blessed in having a unity of purpose that I have never experienced in any other department in Whitehall.

Our vision is of a UK that trades its way to prosperity, stability and security.
We know that to realise this vision we must build a department that champions free trade, helps businesses export, drives investment and opens up markets so that more British businesses can take up the opportunities that exist in the global economy.

And we need to prepare for life after Brexit, to make the technical changes and global arrangements that will enable us to take full advantage of having an independent trade policy for the first time in over 40 years.

And we have done so against an economic backdrop where the fundamentals of the British economy have been sound and resilient.

Because the naysayers got it wrong – and doesn’t it annoy you when people preface any piece of good news with the phrase “despite Brexit”. Well, doesn’t it?

So let’s just have a reality check.

We have the highest number of people in employment ever, “despite Brexit”.

Last year we had the highest inward investment to the UK ever, creating over 75,000 new jobs and safeguarding over 32,000 others, “despite Brexit”.

We have new cars being built in Sunderland and Cowley, amongst the highest economic growth rates in the developed world, an 11% rise in exports and the best order books for British manufacturers in 22 years.

No, not despite Brexit but because of the sound economic management of a Conservative government under the leadership of our Prime Minister, Theresa May and Chancellor, Phillip Hammond.

And last week we saw the full horrors of what a Labour alternative might look like. Economic incompetence, financial incontinence and self-congratulatory nonsense.

A leadership that is conning Britain’s young people, planning to borrow and spend on an unprecedented scale leaving the debts and the inevitable taxes to the next generation. It is a confidence trick. Labour claim to be the party who support young people when, in reality, they are the party who will sell out young people.

We, on the other hand are getting on with the business of governing.

We will leave the European Union, and with it, the Single Market and the Customs Union, at the end of March 2019. We are now making the preparations for that to happen.

First, at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva, we have to table new trading schedules – which are the legal basis of our international trading obligations.

We have increased our staff numbers and worked hard with our international partners to ensure that this process is as technical and straightforward as possible.

Second, we have to translate into UK law, the trade agreements that the EU has, with other countries, and to which we are a party.

There are around 40 such EU free trade agreements and we have been working to ensure that we continue our trading advantages with important markets, such as Switzerland and South Korea, avoiding any disruption at the point we leave the EU.

Beyond that, we will need to look to new agreements to ensure that we can take full advantage of the opportunities that will arise in the future.

Of course, as we look globally, we must continue to recognise the hugely important market for the UK that the EU provides. That is why the Prime Minister and David Davis have consistently said that we want to see a full and comprehensive agreement with the EU, retaining an open and free trading area across the European continent.

That is in the interests of both the UK and our European partners who we want to see prosperous and strong, playing a full part in our mutual economic well-being and security.

But the EU itself estimates that over 90% of global growth in the next 10 to 15 years will occur outside Europe so we must be ready to meet that challenge.

These are the markets where Britain must trade, invest and partner, ensuring that we deliver and bring back to Britain the fruits of growth in some of the world’s most dynamic places.

From the vibrant energy of the Asian economies to the awakening giant of Latin America to the potential of the African continent, new opportunities are arising, new ventures beckoning and new possibilities blossoming.

We have already begun discussions with the United States, Australia and New Zealand about future relationships.

We have established a trade policy group to lead our trade negotiations of the future and recruited the terrific Crawford Falconer from New Zealand to head up a new trade profession, creating new skills and career opportunities in trade.

We have established 12 working groups with 17 countries from India to Brazil and from the Gulf to Australia.

As Ministers we have travelled to over 100 global markets, promoting British exports of goods and services, encouraging inward investment to the United Kingdom and seeking overseas investment opportunities so that British companies develop a genuinely global footprint.

Am I optimistic about the future? Absolutely.

When people ask if I’m a glass half full or half empty man – I just tell them that I’m Scottish and the glass isn’t big enough.

And we continue to innovate to help UK businesses, large and small. We have a dedicated network of Trade Envoys, and will shortly have a fully established complement of Trade Commissioners to lead nine new regions across the world, bringing together expertise in export promotion, investment and policy at our posts abroad.

We will bring an end to micromanagement from Whitehall and give those with the intuition and understanding of international markets the freedom they need to do the job that this country needs them to do.

And our job is to ensure that everything we do helps British business.
We have created a cutting edge digital trading site – called – showcasing Britain to the world and showing real time export opportunities.

And we are now providing political risk insurance so that even the most difficult markets can be accessed with confidence and for SMEs we will make export finance available through their own banks for the first time, making help available quickly and efficiently.

But we must not assume that everyone takes the same positive view of global free trade that we do. There are many who are worried about the disruptive effects of the globalised economy and the effect it may have on their own jobs and prosperity. If we are to get wide acceptance of a competitive, free market, global economy then we must ensure that it works for everyone. And we must provide mitigation where disruption is caused to individuals or communities.

In particular, we have to ensure that our training and reskilling is sufficient to help people back into the workplace as quickly and smoothly as possible.

We may think that the benefits of free trade are self-evident but we need to sell our vision and mission to a public that is often either unaware or sceptical about the benefits.

We need to say that when the UK sells its goods and services to other countries it helps the UK economy grow and become stronger.

We need to say that improving trade and selling more into markets overseas support jobs at home.

And we need to point out that the choice and competition that comes from trade means a greater variety of goods in the shops, helping keep prices down and making incomes go further.

Getting cut-price produce from Lidl and Aldi is free trade in action.

Getting bigger widescreen TVs at lower prices from Currys is free trade in action.

Getting lower cost school clothing or having a full range of fruit and vegetables all year round is free-trade in action.

On the other hand, putting up barriers to trade – or protectionism – leads to higher prices and less choice. Ultimately, it leads to a less competitive economy that delivers lower living standards.

Let’s make our arguments mean something to all our people.

And more, let’s go beyond the economic arguments and make the moral case too.

Over the last generation, more than 1 billion people have been taken out of abject poverty thanks to the success of global trading. It is the greatest reduction in poverty in human history and we are working hand in hand with our development policy so that ultimately people can trade their way out of poverty rather than simply depending on aid.

Of course no one is likely to disagree with the sentiment. Yet the most developed countries have been placing more and more obstacles in the way of free trade in recent years. According to the OECD, at the end of 2010 the G7 and G20 countries were operating around 300 non-tariff barriers to trade. By the end of 2015 this had increased to over 1200.

Those who have benefited most from free-trade in the past cannot pull up the drawbridges behind them. It is completely unacceptable, which is why, as we leave the European Union, and take up our independent seat at the World Trade Organization, we will be unequivocal champions of free-trade for the benefit of all.

But we need to see free trade in a wider context still. We live in a world that is more interconnected and more interdependent than at any time in our history.

Free trade helps to ensure that there is an ever wider sharing of prosperity.

That prosperity, which encourages and develops social cohesion, underpins political stability. And that political stability, in turn, is part of the framework for our global security.

That is why we must see them all as part of a continuum and why it is so essential that our trade policy, our development policy and our foreign policy work hand in hand, which is why Boris, Priti and I are working so closely together.

So let’s be upbeat, Let’s be positive. Let’s be optimistic.

From Jakarta to Panama to Tokyo to Johannesburg, I have heard nothing but a willingness to do business with Britain, a respect for the quality of our goods and services and a desire to develop partnerships with British business.

We need to take as positive a view of Britain as they do.

We need to stop the negative, undermining, self-defeating pessimism that is too prevalent in certain quarters and be bold, be brave and rise to the global challenges, together.

We are not passengers in our own destiny. We can make change happen if we want to.

And it is this great party leading our great country that will make that change and lead us to a great future.

Thank you.

Liam Fox – 2017 Speech in Bogota

Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, in Bogota, Colombia on 23 August 2017.

Good morning everyone,

It is a pleasure to be here today in Bogota.

More than two centuries ago Simón Bolivar came to London to seek British support for Colombian independence; he returned with seven thousand British soldiers, who fought for Colombia, along with substantial financial and technological support for the cause.

British engineers constructed Colombia’s network of railways and other heavy industry, stimulating economic development.

The United Kingdom supported Colombia from its very first days as a fledgling nation, and it is from these bonds of friendship that the UK and Colombia have built a great partnership that endures to this day, as our two nations remain key partners on the world stage.

Last year, soon after I was appointed Secretary of State, I had the honour to speak alongside President Santos during his very successful state visit to the United Kingdom.

I talked then about how the bonds of history have continued to unite our two countries.

We have remained close partners on defence and security. According to your own official figures, the UK has been Colombia’s third largest foreign investor over the past decade, and our trading relationship was worth over one billion pounds in 2015.

But it is also fair to say that British business has not developed and nurtured this relationship as well as we might have done.

Our trade in goods with Colombia is behind the likes of France, Germany and Spain.

So today my message to British business is this; we need to redouble our efforts to re-forge this close bond, for Colombia is in the process of implementing an historic peace agreement which could transform its economic performance.

At our country our own painful experiences of the troubles in Northern Ireland have taught us that peace processes are never easy. They take courage and resilience, but that the rewards that come for a lasting and sustainable peace are worth the years of negotiations and reconciliation.

I am here today because the United Kingdom wants to partner Colombia, helping your nation to realize the dividends of peace, and working to transform the country.

We are supporting Colombia reach its full potential and generate prosperity. During last year’s state visit we announced the creation of a £25m Prosperity Fund to promote prosperity and economic development in the areas affected by the conflict, and to support Colombia in reaching the full benefits of peace.

The programme will focus on urban development, transport infrastructure, capacity building, anti-corruption and increasing the agricultural competitiveness.

Our trading relationship continues to expand. Total trade in goods and services between the UK and Colombia totalled £1.3bn in 2015 – an 11.8% increase from the year before.

Like the UK, Colombia is committed to fiscal prudence, sound governance, and a commitment to free trade. With 16 free trade agreements already in place, your economy is among the most open in Latin America.

Combined with a 4% average growth rate over the past decade, and it is easy to see why Colombia is widely seen as one of the brightest prospects in the Americas.

When British companies arrive in Colombia, they can be transformational. KPMG has recently been awarded a contract to undertake financial structuring of the new Metro here in Bogota, a project that will have a very real impact on the lives of 10 million Colombians.

Holtrade have recently reached an agreement with Fenoco, the central rail concession, to become the first private operator in recent history to transport freight across the Central and Caribbean regions, revolutionising Colombian freight capacity.

Red Leopard and Cerromatoso, a subsidiary of the UK company South 32, have both announced major new expansions in their coal and nickel mining projects.

And Currie & Brown have been awarded the contract to undertake the technical structuring of Bogota’s largest and most ambitious health project – the regeneration and construction of 6 hospitals through Public Private Partnership. This is the first project of its kind in Colombia.

And it is not just the physical infrastructure of Colombia that UK companies are investing in. For more than 80 years, the British Council Colombia has supported the development of quality education, and promoted English language proficiency across the country.

Moreover, the British Council it´s currently working with young people across Colombia to build upon the opportunities brought by peace.

These examples are only the tip of the iceberg, yet they illustrate how some of the UK’s strongest areas of expertise – financial services, transport, mineral extraction, healthcare, and education – have the capacity to rapidly transform the lives of Colombian citizens.

Despite all this, we want to maintain and expand such relationships, the United Kingdom itself must continue to be a sure and stable commercial partner to Colombia.

As I’m sure you will all be aware, the United Kingdom is currently negotiating our withdrawal from the European Union.

There has been speculation in some sections of the media, here in Colombia as well as in the United Kingdom, that last year’s vote to leave was a symptom of insularity, and that the United Kingdom would be withdrawing from the world stage, abdicating our international responsibilities and severing ties with Europe and the world.

I am here to tell you that nothing, absolutely nothing, could be further from the truth.

Last year’s vote was about looking beyond the boundaries of Europe to the wider world. The government’s ambition is not to create a ‘little England’, but a truly Global Britain.

Our country will become, once again, the greatest champion of global free trade, renewing our partnerships with new friends and new allies alike to spread prosperity to every corner of the world.

What lies at the heart of this vision? Why have we made it our mission to champion global free trade?

There are, of course, the macroeconomic benefits of free trade. Making it easier for UK businesses to sell overseas, and for foreign companies to operate in the UK, stimulates the economy.

Analysis by the OECD has indicated that a 10% increase in economic openness is associated with a 4% increase in output per head of the working population.

Yet the case for free trade is much wider. A better availability of products has brought cheaper goods and services to consumers across the world, raising living standards and making incomes go further.

Economic interdependence reduces the risk of conflict, as prosperity weakens the grip of authoritarian leaders and commercial ties remove the incentives to have conflicts with one another.

And, perhaps most importantly, liberalised trade practices have lifted millions from poverty across the globe. There has been no greater liberator of the world’s poor than free and open international trade.

It is perhaps true that businesses have been more adept at seeing the inherent opportunities of free trade, while governments have tend to see the risks.

That is why the UK intends to lead by example in promoting free trade from the highest levels of government. For those countries like the UK who have grown rich from global trade, there is a moral duty to ensure that those same freedoms are extended to developing nations.

Soon, the UK will be in a unique position to influence the spread of global free trade.

For the first time in more than four decades, we will have a fully independent trade policy.

Crucially, this will allow us to negotiate free trade agreements with new partners across the world, including those rapidly developing and expanding economies that will drive the global economy and global growth in the 21st Century.

The UK will become a global trade hub, leading by example to ensure that the world economy remains open and interconnected.

We will also regain our independent seat at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva.

As one of the world’s largest economies, this will not only allow us a new forum in which to promote and protect free trade, but gives Britain a role in safeguarding the rules-based international order which drives global prosperity.

My own department for International Trade is a symbol of these ambitions.

Created mere weeks after last year’s referendum, our task is to build these relationships, and to ensure that the United Kingdom remains open, outward-looking, and internationalist.

Yet this vision for Britain does not mean turning our back on Europe. Indeed, we want nothing more than to be the closest partners of a successful and prosperous European Union, maintaining those mutually beneficial commercial relationships upon which many international companies, including those from Colombia, rely.

Throughout the period of our withdrawal, our watchwords will be stability, continuity and transparency. We know how important certainty is to the global trading environment, and we will strive to ensure that consistency is maintained at all times.

That is why, as we leave the European Union, it is our strongest desire to maintain the same privileged relationship that our countries currently enjoy under the EU FTA, replicating as far as possible our existing trading terms. If Britain is to be a global leader in free trade, then we cannot, and will not, begin by erecting barriers that do not exist today.

So I am here today to reassure you that the UK will continue to be prosperous. The UK will continue to be at the heart of global trade. And the UK will continue to be the premier destination for Colombian investment.

The Department for International Trade is taking steps to ensure that these ambitions that we have are supported by our actions.

I am pleased to announce that support from UK Export Finance for trade with Colombia will increase to £4.5 billion.

This makes billions of pounds of additional financial support available to both UK exporters, and buyers of UK goods and services in Colombia, opening vast opportunities for British and Colombian businesses alike.

As globalisation and new technology continue to eliminate the barriers of distance and time, the UK stands ready to help Colombia harness this power.

Technology, Data, FinTech and Scientific Research are areas in which the UK excels. Firms across Britain are ready to bring their expertise to bear, expanding new industries across Colombia and South America.

IT services company Endava has just opened a new Software Development and Innovation Centre in Bogota, with plans to grow to at least 500 staff over the next few years, a training programme that invests in Colombia’s future.

And Genius Sports, one of the fastest growing sports data and technology companies in the world, have decided to establish their South American Tech Hub in Medellín, to capitalise, they say, “on the enormous wealth of highly qualified tech workers available there”.

They also freely admit that “the inspiration behind this investment came from President Santos’s ‘Legacy of Peace’ Speech in 2016”.

Across almost every industry, UK companies stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Colombia. Yet there is always more for us to do.

So I am here this morning not only to celebrate the past strength of the UK-Colombia relationship, but also to embrace the opportunities of the future.

As Colombia marks the transition to peace, the United Kingdom too is opening a new chapter in our future, one that will be founded upon economic openness, free trade, and a firm embrace of global opportunities.

It is an ambition for Britain which cannot be realised without the support and friendship of our allies. Those nations who recognise and embrace the importance of free trade must work tirelessly to strengthen the argument, leading by example and showing a world a path to prosperity that lies not in the protectionism, but in economic openness.

In this, the UK and Colombia are natural partners.

There may be challenges ahead, but if we remain true to these principles then we can build a safe and prosperous future for Britain, Colombia, and the rest of the world.

Thank you.

Liam Fox – 2004 Speech to Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox at the Conservative Party Conference in Bournemouth on 4 October 2004.

Welcome to Bournemouth to this, our last conference in Opposition.

At this conference, a renewed and reinvigorated party will set out a clear and hopeful alternative for our country – one that promises freedom and security.

And we begin by reclaiming as our party colours the red white and blue that reflects our pride in our country. We will never surrender the colours of our flag to those on the dangerous fringe of British politics. We are the party of all Britain and all Britons.

Under the leadership of Michael Howard, we have become by far the biggest party in local government. On June 10th when millions of voters went to the polls, we pushed Labour into a humiliating third place. We triumphed in the London Assembly with our best performance since the early 90s. We have more women in local government. office than any other political party. And recently we showed that we can win again in the cities, for example, in Millwall in London, our first seat in Tower Hamlets for 40 years.

All talk and no action

Over the past year our membership has grown so that we now have more members than the Labour Party and the LibDems combined.

Remember what he said? 24 hours to save the NHS. Yet despite spending billions of pounds of your money look what’s happened. There are too many managers, too many filthy hospitals, too many people waiting for treatment – and you can’t even find an NHS dentist.

Remember he said education, education, education? But Labour have wasted billions on bureaucracy. There is too much paperwork for teachers and too little discipline for pupils.

He said tough on crime tough on the causes of crime but guess what he forgot. He forgot to be tough on the criminals, so crime, especially violent crime, is out of control. And to make matters worse, too many sentences are far too lenient.

Too many people live in fear in Blair’s Britain, a Britain crying out for more respect, more discipline and decent values.

And what about our security? At a time of greater threats from abroad what do we get from Labour? Cuts to the Army. Cuts to the Navy. Cuts to the AirForce. We will soon have a smaller navy than France for the first time since the seven years war ended in 1763.

And isn’t it shameful that this Government sent our servicemen and women to Iraq to fight without the proper equipment to protect them and keep them safe?

Then there’s asylum. Labour have lost control of asylum. Under Labour, Britain has become a soft touch. People look to us, the Conservatives, to get a grip on the system.

Of course, if you are Prime Minister, if you get five summer holiday freebies and spend more time out of Britain, these things might not matter to you .

But all these things do matter. They matter to all the people who have seen Tony Blair break his promises. Pensioners, patients, parents, pupils, taxpayers, students, our servicemen and women. Each and every one betrayed by Tony Blair.

No wonder people no longer believe a word he says. He is all talk and no action. No matter what he promises at the next election, nobody in this country will be able to trust him.

The LibDems

Of course, if you can’t trust Labour you could always try the Lib Dems.

They want to ban smoking but legalise soft drugs.

They want to license prostitution, but ban the sale of goldfish.

They want the age of criminal responsibility to go up but the age at which you can buy pornography to come down.

And they want prisoners all to have the vote – presumably because every inmate would support them.

They want a tax on zoos and a tax for regional assemblies. One MP wants cocaine to be sold from licensed premises.

They haven’t changed. They’re still a Party that likes to get high – high on taxes but low on integrity.

But a LibDem vote is not just a wasted vote, it is a dangerous vote.

Their crazy law and order policies would be even softer on crime than Labour. And their European policy would sell Britain out with a single currency, a single constitution and a single European defence policy.

They know they can never win office in Britain. But what they can never achieve in this country they would conspire to impose upon the British people from Brussels.

Michael Howard

It will fall to Michael Howard and the Conservative Party and everyone here in this hall to restore trust in British politics.

Let me tell you about Michael Howard. He gave me my first political job. Come to think of it, he may have given me my last one.

Michael is not always the easiest person to work with. He knows what he thinks and what he believes in. He likes a good argument – a very good argument.

He wants evidence and fact, not supposition and prejudice – and when he makes up his mind, he can be one of the most stubborn people I’ve ever met.

But not only is he one of the most fair and decent people I’ve worked with, but his case will always be based on reason and he will always put his country before his party.

What a contrast to our current Prime Minister, whose moral vanity means that he believes he is always right. Even his own Party can now see through the lame excuses from the lame duck Prime Minister.

The scale of our task

This Conservative Party last threw out a failed Labour Government under the brave and historic leadership of Margaret Thatcher. We owe her so much.

We were faced with a broken economy crippled by socialism. Our task this time will be just as great.

Not only will we have to restore trust in politics itself, We will have to restore the balance of power between the government and the British people.

Over the last seven years Labour have eroded more and more of our freedoms. They have created a pocket money society where the government takes more and more of our money to make more and more decisions on our behalf and they leave us with less and less income and less and less control over our own lives.

New Labour have hit us with new taxes. New taxes on pensions. New taxes on homeowners. New taxes on business.

And it is not just more taxes. They now intrude into every nook and cranny of our lives. They tell you how to do your job and how many hours you are allowed to do it for. How to bring up your child – even what to feed them. They extended means testing, so that pensioners who have spent their lives trying to be independent of the state now have to declare their savings to the ever more intrusive taxman.

This is not the nanny state – that makes it sound too cuddly – this is the intruder state, which is eroding our historic liberties, strangling our self- reliance and suffocating our freedoms.

Is this the sort of Britain we want ?

Where professionals are told how to do their jobs?

Where there is a speed camera round every corner not to make us safer but to lighten our pockets?

Where the rights of the countryside are decided by the bigotry of urban class warriors? Is this what we want?

New Labour have created a society where people increasingly feel that there is a growing gap between the law and justice. People feel that their burglars will never be caught, but they will be if they drive at 35 in a 30 zone.

And they wonder what is the point of the law if, when you fail the tests for asylum, you are still allowed to stay in this country.

Worst of all, New Labour have created a tyranny of political correctness. A tyranny where decent, ordinary people feel intimidated. They know there are things that need to be said, but they are afraid to say them.

Well, we are not afraid.

I thought it was outrageous for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to tell us that “gang rape” is a politically incorrect term . Apparently it should be called group rape. Well, frankly, I couldn’t care less about the sensitivities of rapists – what about the sensitivities of the victims of rape?

If a husband kills his wife in their home it’s not ” a case of domestic violence”- it’s murder. Let’s call it that.

And drunk youngsters on street corners who threaten old people are not guilty of “social disorder”, they are yobs, they are thugs and they are hooligans.

Its time to start saying things as they are.

A Conservative alternative

Britain is crying out for a new direction and this week we will give it. People are tired of Labour’s words. Tired of soundbites and empty promises. They are tired of being preached at.

They want action. And this week we’ll tell them what the next Conservative Government will do – and how we will make a difference.

Andrew Lansley will show how we will get our hospitals clean, get money through to doctors and nurses and give patients the opportunity to choose where and when they get their treatment.

David Davis will show how we will cut police paperwork, put more police on the beat and stop the early release scheme that puts the public at risk by letting dangerous criminals out too soon.

Tim Collins will show how we will restore discipline in schools and give parents the opportunity to choose the best school for their child.

We will show how we will stop Labour’s reckless defence cuts and make sure we have the armed forces to do the job.

And we will set a firm timetable for a referendum on the European constitution. If we win an election in May we will hold a referendum before we meet at next year’s Party Conference- a pledge that only the Conservative Party can deliver. We will campaign for a No vote. And we will get a No vote.

We will show that you can get a grip on asylum and stop Britain being a soft touch. It is not ” a lurch to the right” but an overdue response to the real anxieties expressed by the British people. If we do not deal fairly and clearly with these issues then there are those on the shadowy extremes of British politics who would love to exploit them.

We need a fair but firm system that helps genuine refugees. We will introduce a points system like they have in Australia. It will give priority to those who want to come to Britain to work hard and make a positive contribution to our country.

And, for the first time, we will set a ceiling on the number of people who can come into the United Kingdom each year.

Cleaner hospitals, discipline in schools, an end to political correctness, police on the beat, support for our armed forces, control of our borders and the British people controlling their own future in Europe.

A Conservative Government delivering freedom from fear and the security to enjoy our liberties.

A timetable for action

People are fed up with talk. They want action. They don’t want vague promises. They want to know exactly what a Conservative Government would do – and when.

That is why, that at this Conference, will do something that has never been done before. We will set a timetable for action. We will set out what we will actually do in our first day, our first week, our first month in office. So that people will know how to judge our performance, so that we can be held to account – so that we can restore trust between the government and the people of our country.

Natural Conservatives

We will show that there are huge differences in the way we see our future. Political parties are not all the same.

I don’t know about you, but one thing that makes me mad is when people say Tony Blair’s really a Conservative. He’s even had the nerve to compare himself to Margaret Thatcher. To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, we know Margaret Thatcher, we worked with Margaret Thatcher – Mr. Blair, you’re no Margaret Thatcher.

Tony Blair has raised tax and wasted our money. He has presided over an explosion in crime. He has lost control over the asylum system. He has failed to deliver his promises on health and education and he will sell us out on the European constitution. He’s no Conservative.

There is a fundamental difference between us and Tony Blair. On tax, we’re right and he’s wrong. On crime and asylum we’re right and he’s wrong. And on health, education and especially on our future in Europe, we’re right and he’s wrong.

All across this country, there are natural conservatives looking for leadership, for a place to go. They have forgotten what we stand for because we have stopped telling them. So, for those who wonder if they are natural conservatives, let me say this with all due respect to the Governor of California.

If you believe that the first duty of the government is defence of this country, then you are a conservative.

If you believe that you should keep more of your own hard-earned income, then you are a conservative.

If you believe that those who save for themselves and their families should be rewarded not penalized, then you are a conservative.

If you believe that government should give us the tools, get off our backs and let us get on with our lives, then you are a conservative.

If you believe the law is for the security of the law abiding and to punish not to excuse criminals, then you are a conservative.

If you believe that we are a nation of individuals whose talents and diversity should be encouraged, you are a conservative

And if you believe that the British people should have control of their own destiny, then you are a conservative.

We must tell these things to the British people with clarity and courage. We can restore trust in politics.

There is an alternative.

You can make a difference.

Less talk, more action.

For the sake of this country the fight starts today.

Liam Fox – 2004 Liberty and Authority Speech

Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox at the Conservative Policy Forum Swinton Lecture in Bournemouth on 4 October 2004.

For seven years, the people of this country have been strung along with promises of action. Promises which they no longer believe, from a Prime Minister they no longer believe.

Tony Blair’s decline is, above all, a decline in his reputation for honesty. The constant promises but lack of delivery in public services began the process, the contempt for commitments made, such as those on tuition fees, exacerbated the feeling, and the Iraq war was the final straw. The public, remember, initially backed the war strongly. It was the Prime Minister’s justifications for the war, veering wildly with alarming rapidity and no consistency, which has done the damage to his reputation, possibly forever.

The political process, for both politicians and the public, requires certainty. Yet certainty has been undermined by a Government that seems to have no answers, apart from those we have learned not to take at face value. This uncertainty manifests itself in disturbing social trends and unspoken fears, in particular the growing disenchantment with, and distrust of, the political process.

Unfortunately, this isn’t just a problem for Tony Blair and his Government. Arguably it is we in opposition who have the biggest problem. In Government one can, at least, pull the levers of power, which will, if nothing else, operate the smoke and mirrors that provide the appearance of action. However, until such time as it wins power, an opposition must be taken at its word. And, after seven years of spin, the word of a politician doesn’t count for much. We might not think that’s very fair. After all, we’re not the ones in charge of the spin machine. But it is the reality. Tony Blair has so debased the language of politics that no politician may speak and automatically expect to be believed.

Thus we must make our words meaningful. We must convince the public that we can make a difference. We must explain exactly what we would do in government, when and how. Which is why the theme of this conference is a timetable for action. Between now and the next election we will present detailed plans for delivery on health and education, crime and immigration, and all the other issues that matter most to the British people.

Now that New Labour’s smoke has blown away, their mirrors crack’d from side to side, what the voters want is certainty. They demand a Government with policies that work and are seen to work. And this isn’t just a matter of competent administration. The people of this country want leaders who believe in what they do, and do what they believe – because belief is the essential counterpart to action, without it there is no direction, and therefore little point in taking action.

The first question

So what do we believe?

I believe the Conservative Party must change and is changing. But we must never be like New Labour who have achieved so little because they believe in so little. That is not to say that I preferred Old Labour whose problem was not a lack of belief, but belief in the wrong thing.

Socialism is a credo opposed to our own not only in content, but also in style. Whereas socialism is theoretical, revolutionary and pseudo-scientific, conservatism is experiential, evolutionary and instinctive, something more easily felt than described. That is why, in a century of struggle with socialism, we came to be defined more in terms of what we didn’t believe than in what we did. People voted for us because we didn’t believe in punitive taxation or a centrally planned economy or the dominance of the unions. And we still don’t. Of course, these days, very few people do – a testament to the outcome of our struggle with socialism, but also to the start of a new struggle to define ourselves in terms of what we do believe, rather than what we don’t.

So, the question remains, what do we believe in?

Liberty and authority

On one level the answer is straightforward; and was defined, even before the modern Conservative Party came into existence, by Edmund Burke: Conservatives believe both in the individual and society; aspiration and community; freedom and responsibility. In other words, we believe in both liberty and authority.

These are the twin pillars of Conservatism. And yet, as Burke was at pains to expound throughout his life’s work, liberty and authority, though co-dependent, are in tension. It is a tension that persists to the present day and that we, in the Conservative Party, feel keenly; and which our enemies would wish to portray as a battle between modernisers and traditionalists, or, if you prefer, mods and rockers. But authentic Conservatism is not about a choice between liberty and authority, but a balance between the two – allied to a distrust of an over mighty state which compromises both.

This is the true path for our Party and always has been, it stretches back to Burke, and forwards into the 21st century and beyond. Achieving that balance is not easy. And, sometimes, the road ahead can feel more like a tightrope. Nevertheless how we tread that tightrope, how we strike that balance, is what defines us as a party.

And the subject of this lecture.

Sacrifice or investment?

There is such a thing as absolute liberty, and, for that matter, absolute authority. Respectively, they are represented by the extremes of anarchy and tyranny, which as moderates we reject. Across the mainstream of politics, it is accepted that we need to exchange some, but not all, of our liberty, so that the authorities can act on our behalf, achieving collectively what we cannot achieve as individuals. Those of us on the centre-right seek to tip that balance in favour of liberty, while our opponents on the centre-left try to push the equilibrium back towards authority. But that is not the only difference between us, or even the most important. After all, there have been circumstances, such as times of national crisis, in which Conservatives have had to shift the balance away from liberty. What really counts is the ultimate purpose we have in exchanging liberty for authority.

Is it for its own sake? For instance, for the glory of an empire, the righteousness of a theocracy, or even the New Jerusalem of the welfare state? Or is it so that the collective achievements of our society might provide the basis for yet greater and more meaningful personal liberty? In other words, is the exchange of liberty for authority a sacrifice or an investment? Labour demands sacrifice; Conservatives prefer investment – that is the essential difference between us.

It is a difference made all the clearer in the principles by which we seek to facilitate such investment:

The principles of balance

The five principles I want to set out today are those of respect, morality, democracy, localism and identity.


On the eve of the second gulf war, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins roused his soldiers with some remarkable words: “We go to liberate not to conquer” he said. He spoke of the long history of Iraq, urging his troops to “tread lightly there.” He spoke of the qualities of the Iraqi people, urging his troops to “show respect for them.”

It is an attitude that the powerful should always take when intervening in the lives of ordinary people – whether abroad or at home. While it is in the nature of Labour Governments to think of themselves as the masters, the next Conservative Government will strive to tread lightly, to show respect for the people we govern.

A government that respects the people should only impose its will where necessary, allowing society to operate on the basis of consent wherever possible. That is why we believe in free markets, it is also why we are determined to give the voluntary sector the biggest possible role in our communities and public services. We are equally determined to put fat government on a diet, to strip away the bureaucracy that serves no purpose but to tread heavily in the lives of ordinary people.

When we do ask people to make an investment of their liberty, it must be in proportion to the return. If a rule, regulation or tax is not worth it in the long run, then we must get rid of it now. If the incentives created by the tax and benefit systems are just plain perverse, then we must reform them now.

During a recent visit to a nursing home in London I met a charming elderly lady who was 103 years old. She was extremely up to date with politics and said it was a pity that I had been unable to meet her daughter. On further enquiry I discovered that her daughter was 82 years old and living on the third floor of the same home. “Young man” she pointed out, “we are only 10 years away from three generations of my family being in care – who is going to pay for it?” It is a good question, but one which will not be answered while the system punishes those that save for their old age. That is why Conservative policies on pensions, savings and care for the elderly will reward those who take responsibility for the future.

Of all the old certainties, none is more important than the confidence that the authorities will respect you for doing the right thing. But people feel increasing disrespected by Government. For instance, people feel that the law is only really enforced against the law-abiding. The police are happy enough to enforce speed camera fines against ordinary motorists who have their cars properly registered. And yet as many as one in five cars have been found to have no tax or insurance or no proper registration to a responsible owner at a correct address. What is being done about that? Clearly, it is harder work going out and finding the owners of unregistered cars than collecting easy money speed camera fines from the law abiding.

Then there are the nation’s taxpayers, who surely have a right to expect a return on their contribution. It may be that the greatest danger facing Labour, enmeshing Gordon Brown as well as Tony Blair, lies in the stubborn refusal of the public services to yield improvements despite the huge increase in spending and taxation. Having tested to destruction their theory that more money would be the answer, Blair and Brown must be perplexed that health, education and transport have not noticeably improved. Their answer is more taxation which will certainly come if Labour is returned to power. But people have their limits. They have lives to live in the here and now. They cannot give up everything in the present for a better future, especially when that future never comes. A Government that treads lightly must be one that reduces the burden of taxation on Britain’s hard working families.


These are moral values. And it is morality, by which I mean a sense of right and wrong, that must guide our efforts to find the balance between liberty and authority.

There are those who consider themselves above such considerations, who’d prefer politics to be a value-free, technocratic exercise. No doubt they consider themselves to be terribly liberal, but they are nothing of the kind. Theirs is the condescending bigotry of political correctness, a supreme arrogance that believes its positions to be beyond question and thus deserving of permanent, unaccountable power.

That power is exercised through quangos, inquiries and supranational structures hidden from public scrutiny. Only one viewpoint is allowed, with utter distain shown for the principles by which ordinary people decide what is right and what is wrong.

It is no surprise that the same unaccountable elite should have such disdain for Parliament, and have sought to circumvent its authority. But that will change under a Conservative Government. We will restore the historic role of Parliament, so that the big decisions are made in full view of the people, who can judge for themselves the morality of our actions.


When the people judge their politicians and find them wanting, they must be able to act upon that judgement and throw the rascals out. Though not perfect, democracy is the only system of government in which liberty may be balanced against authority, without some elite imposing its values on everyone else. It is the only system in which right may prevail over might. As such, it is our hope for all mankind, and why we will argue the moral case for democracy in the face of the bigots who believe that certain cultures are suited only to dictatorship.

But overt tyranny, and those who would appease it, are not the only foes of democracy. When their might cannot openly prevail, elites have a habit of insinuating themselves within ostensibly democratic systems so that they may exercise power unaccountably, which is why we need to understand democracy in its fullest sense. That means never leaving people at the mercy of such elites. One way or another, authority in all its guises must be held accountable.

Sometimes this accountability will be that of the social market – a dialogue between the providers of our public services and the people who depend upon them. That is why we believe in the right to choose for parents and patients. So that they will always have a proper choice of schools and hospitals.

In other situations it may be impossible to give individuals a choice of institutions. For instance, there can only be one system of law and order, only one police force in any one area. But we cannot go on as we are. There has never been a wider gap between people’s ideas of justice and what they expect the law to deliver. The root cause is that our justice system is now less accountable than it has ever been to ordinary citizens and to local communities. Instead, it is answerable only to the centre. In practice, its priorities are set by a metropolitan elite whose ideas about justice are far removed from those of the ordinary citizen. The solution is direct democracy. Under the Conservatives, every police authority will be directly elected by local people. We will give everyone the chance to vote for the kind of policing they want on the streets where they live.


Localism is vital to all of this. And by localism I don’t just mean the balance of power between different levels of government. I mean that the balance between liberty and authority must be struck on a case-by-case basis, preferably by those that must live with the consequences.

Because each case raises its own specific issues it should, with due reference to precedent, be considered on its own merits. In this way, a true democracy can reach and sustain a balance through countless considered adjustments, made with local knowledge – as opposed to the rigidity of some grand scheme imposed from above. This is the way of Britain’s tradition of common law, one which we will defend from the incursions of European law and the growing power of an unaccountable judicial elite.

It’s not only the law to which this principle applies. Anywhere, and any situation, is local to the people that live and work there. Therefore true localism is about respecting the independence and the experience of the people that keep this country going – the business people who create the nation’s wealth, the professionals who provide our public services, the volunteers who hold their communities together, the parents who raise the next generation. Our working assumption is that they know better than the politicians and should, wherever possible, be empowered to take the decisions.


Of course, not every decision can be made locally. That is why we need politicians who as representatives of the people make decisions on their behalf. If such decisions are to strike the balance between liberty and authority, then they are best made on the basis of common interests, common values and common inheritance – in other words, common identity.

Earlier, I spoke of the civilisation on which the development of greater and more meaningful liberty depends. But civilisation is not something made anew every few years, but something which is inherited, built upon and handed on by each generation. This is why so many of the biggest decisions have to be made collectively, because our liberties depend on an inheritance we receive not as individuals, but as members of a greater whole.

Thus the basis of individual freedom is inextricably linked with those group identities through which we inherit our traditions, be that the family, the community or the nation; and therefore wherever liberty needs to be balanced with authority, that authority must reside alongside identity within the group. That is why Conservatives will always defend those group identities to which we owe a natural loyalty, above all our country. We will not give up our currency, we will not submit to a foreign constitution, we will never agree anything that compromises the ultimate right of the British people to be in control of their own destiny.

Upsetting the balance

Ladies and gentlemen, our principles are under attack. Our country suffers under a government with no regard for respect, morality, democracy, localism and identity.

The attack on identity

New Labour is hostile to all forms of identity that it cannot control. Thus European integration is valued above national sovereignty; regional government is used to undermine local identities; and even our parish councils are on New Labour’s hit list.

The attack on localism

For New Labour there is no duty to push power downwards, rather it is a privilege that can only be earned by doing what the Government wants you do anyway. Where we aim to localise, they have centralised. The institutions and professions of our public services have suffered a sustained assault as power is sucked away from communities and into Whitehall. Even in Whitehall the independence of the civil service is undermined. As is Britain’s constitution which they call unwritten, but which is, in fact, written in centuries of common and statute law, the legal embodiment of our culture of governance.

The attack on democracy

Make no mistake, this is a government that believes in grand schemes of its own devising, not in the organic development of our common life. Their modus operandi is the circumvention of the democratic process. Their desire is to emasculate Parliament, handing over its powers to unaccountable structures be they home-grown quangos or EU institutions like the Commission or the Central Bank.

The attack on morality

Tony Blair once said “what’s right is what works”. What he didn’t say, but clearly believes, is that an oligarchy of appointees is best qualified to decide what works. Thus decisions once the province of the electorate and their representatives, are now increasingly made by a hand-picked technocracy of the great and the good. Except that the decisions they make are never great and rarely good. Indeed, the sheer poverty of New Labour’s moral code leaves little room for considerations of good and evil, right and wrong. What’s right is what works, and what works is what works best for Tony Blair.

The attack on respect

As a result, New Labour is uniquely ill equipped to tread lightly in the lives of the British people, still less to show respect for them. This government is creating a society in which many people feel singled out or left out. Like the police force in some banana republic, this Government is never there when you need them, always there when you don’t. The sheer cynicism of the Labour’s attack on rural Britain is an example of the former, while, in our inner cities, the latter are represented by decent law abiding citizens who find them themselves under siege from those allowed to ignore the law.

Tony Blair is upsetting the balance between liberty and authority. Not one way or the other, but both ways at once, creating uncertainty and achieving the worst of both worlds.


In this lecture I have not only argued for a balance between liberty and authority, but set out the principles by which a Conservative equilibrium may be achieved. Those principles – of respect, morality, democracy, localism and identity – are all we need to unite us as a party.

But perhaps we imagine that they are so generally accepted that the only question that remains is whether to nudge the balance in favour of liberty or authority, one way or the other. If so, we would imagine wrongly. Our principles are under attack as never before. New Labour has made its position clear on the forces of conservativism. But ultimately it is liberalism that is in danger.

The mission of the next Conservative Government is to restore the balance on which our freedoms depend. We must govern in a way that respects the hopes and fears of ordinary people, we must have the moral courage to distinguish right from wrong, we must be resolute in our defence of democracy, visionary in our advancement of localism and proud of the nation we seek to lead.

It has sometimes been said that the British public are more concerned with being led than where they are being led. While this is a gross (and condescending) oversimplification there is no doubt that voters like to feel that their leaders have a clear understanding of both their problems and the potential remedies. Tony Blair’s philosophy has always been uncertain, but his current lack of a political compass and his reputation for evasion and dishonesty are leading this country astray.

But for the first time in a decade the Conservatives look more thoughtful about Britain’s problems than Labour and under Michael Howard’s leadership more trustworthy and honest. We have a uniting message. It can be different. There is an alternative.

Liam Fox – 2017 Speech on Brexit and Global Trade

Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade and the President of the Board of Trade, in Mexico City on 27 July 2017.

Good morning.

It is a pleasure to be here today in Mexico City, to speak to you about Britain’s new place in the world, and the growing importance of the relationship between the UK and Mexico.

I would like to extend my thanks to HSBC for hosting such an excellent event, and giving me the opportunity to share the government’s vision of the UK’s commercial and economic future.

It is fitting that we are hosted by HSBC, the largest UK investor in Mexico. Their presence here is not only an important part of the commercial ties that already connect our nations, but also indicative of the future direction of that relationship.

Last night, I was fortunate enough to enjoy dinner with my colleague, Minister for the Economy Ildefonso Guajardo.

We stressed the need to redouble our efforts to increase bilateral trade between the Mexico and the UK, especially given the wealth of opportunities that exist in both countries.

Like me, Minister Guajardo sees the need to champion global free trade, and ensure that the larger economies of the world, such as the UK and Mexico, work together to reverse a rising tide of protectionism.

Our agreement on these key issues is symbolic of the wider relationship between Mexico and the United Kingdom.

Fundamentally, our two nations have a very similar global outlook. So much so, that we have hardly ever disagreed on the world stage.

Time and again, at the UN, the G20, and the WTO, the UK and Mexico have shown a united front, working together to address global issues.

This closeness has been underlined by the personal ties that continue to link our two countries, as increasing numbers of people move between Mexico and the UK to travel, work, and study.

But there is more to do. The level of trade and commerce between two large economies can, and should, be far greater.

At our meeting last night, Secretary Guajardo and I launched an informal Trade Dialogue, aiming at discussing how to ensure that the preferential arrangements that the UK currently enjoys with Mexico remain in place as we leave the EU.

At the same time, we reiterated our support for an ambitious and speedy outcome to the modernisation of the EU-Mexico FTA.

As I said last night, there are no conceivable circumstances in which the UK would not want to have a free trade agreement in place with Mexico.

Going forward, our priority must be to ensure stability, continuity and transitional agreements that minimise disruption for businesses.

In the same way, the UK wants the closest possible relationship with our European neighbours, with no interruption of our trading relationship.

This will provide the most stable platform for those companies from other countries, such as Mexico, who use Britain as an access point to Europe.

Outside the EU, it is Britain’s ambition to be a tireless advocate of global free trade, working with allies such as Mexico to ensure that the voice of commercial freedom is never drowned out by the increasing siren song of protectionism.

I am here today in Mexico City not only to celebrate the existing relationship between our nations, but to look to the opportunities of the future.

It is clear to any observer that Mexico’s star is in the ascendancy.

Buoyed by a far-reaching package of economic reforms, including opening up the energy and telecoms sectors, and reforming the financial and education system, your economy has maintained steady growth throughout the global slowdown.

British businesses believe in Mexico, and are matching that faith with investment. Petrofac and Premier Oil have long been involved in the energy sector.

I was delighted to hear of the recent discovery of one billion plus barrels of light oil in the Zama-1 field, a resource which British companies will have a key role in extracting.

Mexico City’s new international airport has been designed by Norman Foster, in a collaboration with distinguished Mexican architect Fernando Romero.

Hamley’s, a British institution, has opened a store here, and, soon, state of the art British double-decker buses will be a regular sight on Reforma.

To top it off, BP has recently become the first foreign oil company to open petrol stations in Mexico, and Shell will follow next month. The belief that UK businesses have in Mexico is palpable.

The UK boasts more Mexican masters’ students studying in our universities than anywhere else in Europe. Last year, Mexican and British scientists became the first in the world to develop a vaccine against Chikungunya, a tropical disease spread by mosquitos.

Already, our two countries enjoy a remarkably successful relationship.

Earlier, I touched on our shared beliefs and global attitudes. I understand that Mexico has voted more times with the UK in the UN and multilateral institutions than with any other nation.

This shows a remarkable, and important, convergence in opinion, especially for two countries situated over 5,000 miles from one another.

This can, and will, be the foundation of a deeper trading relationship, as Britain looks to build new trading relationships with new friends around the world.

I have spoken of how companies from across the United Kingdom are seizing the opportunities that Mexico has to offer.

But trading relationships have to go both ways, and the UK promises huge prospects for Mexican firms.

As the world’s fifth largest economy, there is a huge market for everything from oil and gas, tourism, manufactured goods and food and drink.

The structure of our economy also has the potential to be hugely complementary to Mexico’s interests. Our world-leading expertise in industries such as transport, manufacturing, education, and healthcare allow UK companies to help their Mexican counterparts grow domestically.

As the world’s leading financial services centre, London is well-placed to lend its expertise to Mexican industry, whether through financing, insurance or business services.

And although there is currently only one Mexican company registered on the London Stock Exchange, we would encourage many more to follow.

For example, we are world leaders in green finance, and UK firms have worked closely with Mexico to support the development of Mexico’s green bond market and clean energy certificates.

Mexico is now the leader in Latin America at issuing green bonds, including a $2 billion bond, underwritten by HSBC, for the new Mexico City airport, a shining example of successful British/Mexican collaboration in design and innovation.

The UK is home to a globally unique concentration of skills, knowledge, expertise and industries. We are constantly ranked among the best places on earth to start and grow a business, thanks in part to our progressive regulatory environment, robust legal system, and highly skilled workforce.

These intrinsic strengths will always remain. Indeed, the UK attracted more foreign direct investment projects than ever before in the year 2016 to 2017, with more than 2,200 projects recorded.

Already, companies from throughout Mexico are coming to take advantage of all the UK has to offer, including Cemex, Mexichem, Bimbo, Gruma, Kidzania, Monex and Jose Cuervo, to name a few.

They are the pioneers of what will become an extremely fruitful relationship.

They are also innovators and this is something else that unites us. I am delighted that Innovation is GREAT features today at the breakfast, as part of a year-long Innovation campaign at the embassy.

And I understand that distinguished Mexican chef, Martha Ortiz, will be opening a new, top class Mexican restaurant in Central London in September.

This will help promote appreciation of Mexico’s outstanding cuisine and hospitality, a little of which I have already experienced in my short visit.

In the course of my meetings many have asked about the implications of Brexit for our bilateral relations. It is true that as we leave the EU we are opening a new chapter in our history.

For the first time in more than four decades, the UK will enjoy a fully independent trade policy, free to build closer trading ties with countries around the world, with partners new and old.

But let me make one thing clear. Any who are tempted to see our exit from the EU as evidence of Britain looking inwards should think again. We have chosen another path – to embrace the wider horizons of a truly global Britain.

That means looking for new opportunities and it represents a willingness to invest the time and energy to make the necessary partnerships succeed over a long period.

With increased bilateral trade, increased investment, and a strong strategic partnership, the UK-Mexico trading relationship is set to change radically. It can be a step change in our mutual commitment.

Already, we are working together to support each other’s growth and development through exciting work streams and partnerships such as the Prosperity Fund and Senior Business Leaders Group, and I am delighted that several members of the group are represented here today.

As we work together to promote the trade and investment opportunities that exist between our two countries, our relationship will go from strength to strength.

And as Britain embraces the wider world, we will stand together with Mexico to defend free trade, and all the transformative prosperity that it can bring.

After all, it is through our friends and allies that we achieve our ambitions.

Thank you.

Liam Fox – 2016 Speech in Chicago


Below is the text of the speech made by Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, in Chicago on 26 July 2016.

I am delighted to be here at the Sage Summit talking to so many exciting and innovative businesses.

Sage’s story is nothing short of inspirational.

Beginning as a start-up 30 years ago in the great northern city of Newcastle, it has now 14,000 employees serving millions of businesses across 23 countries.

In fact, employees in over half of all UK businesses get paid thanks to Sage.

A big responsibility if ever there was one.

I wonder if I am actually one of them!

And I am also delighted to be here in Chicago. There is actually much in common between the UK and Illinois’ most famous son – Abraham Lincoln.

The stovepipe hat, which Lincoln popularised, was actually designed on the streets of London in the 1790s; and he famously wrote to workers in Manchester saying, “the peace and friendship which now exist between the two nations will be, as it shall be my desire to make them, perpetual.”

And I’m here, in my first overseas visit as Secretary of State for international trade, to draw on this enduring friendship.

To ensure the UK and the United States strengthen our already close trading ties.

So today, my message to you is simple: the UK is open for business like never before.

They say a week is a long time in politics.

The last month has seemed like a lifetime, but it has been transformative for the UK.

A vote to leave the European Union and a change in government means we now have a golden opportunity to make Britain a truly global trading nation: a nation that businesses around the world want to do business from and with.

And there are 3 key reasons why I am confident we will achieve this, which I will explain.

Firstly, I want to talk about investment, and why the UK is and will remain one of the world’s most attractive destinations for foreign direct investment (FDI).

Secondly, I’ll address the British people’s historic decision to leave the EU and the exciting opportunity now facing us.

And finally, I’ll talk about my new department for International Trade and the role we will play in boosting exports and attracting investment.

Since 2010, 300,000 new jobs have been created by companies that have chosen to locate in the UK.

Last year saw Britain achieve a record share of the EU’s foreign direct investment.

Why should a country that represents only 13% of the EU’s population succeed in getting 21% of the total investment?

The answer, as is so often the case, lies in strong underlying economic fundamentals.

In Britain, we have seen numbers in employment rise to an all-time high and unemployment fall to an 11-year low of below 5%.

These are the result of levels of growth that, even post Brexit, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects to be the highest in the EU.

We have a system of contractual law that gives investors the highest possible levels of confidence, overseen by an internationally respected and totally independent judiciary.

We have a skilled workforce and low levels of industrial disruption.

People rightly talk about London as an international financial and cultural powerhouse but how many people know that the north-east of England, as a region, now exports more cars than the whole of Italy?

We have a low tax economy with some of the lowest business taxes in Europe and have one of the least regulated economies.

Our corporate tax rates are among the lowest in the G20 and are set to get even lower.

We have an internationally respected research base and some of the best universities in the world.

We are home to 18 of the world’s top 100 universities, and 4 of the top 10.

In areas such as financial services we have an unrivalled professional class able to give support.

We have the natural advantage of speaking English and we are in the perfect time zone for global trade – we can conclude business with China in the morning and resume business with the US in the afternoon.

None of these elements is dependent on our membership of the European Union and this is before taking into account the quality of life issues that make living in the United Kingdom so attractive to those outside.

These are the UK’s unique selling points (USPs) and if we continue to harness these properly, investment will keep flowing to our shores.

Last week’s record inward investment of £24 billion by Japan’s Softbank was a resounding vote of confidence in Britain as a future hub of open trade, prosperity and stability.

On my first full day as Secretary of State for International Trade, I visited Farnborough International Air Show: 6 years after my last visit as Defence Secretary.

And on the opening day we saw Boeing pledge to double its workforce in the UK, and Virgin announce a multi-billion pound deal to buy 12 planes from Airbus, which makes wings in the UK.

Further afield in China, we have heard incredibly bullish sentiments from companies like Fosun, Wanda Group and JD Mall – who are not only committed to continuing their business in the UK, but in some cases considerably ramping it up.

Just last week, a leading Chinese building company announced it would invest £220 million in several significant development projects in Sheffield.

But what is important to realise is that investment is a two-way street.

We welcome foreign direct investment for the jobs it creates and the societies it transforms, but we must not forget that the UK is a significant global investor in its own right.

Between the UK and US, nearly $1 trillion worth of investment flows across the Atlantic: making us each other’s largest investor, and each other’s largest foreign job creator.

UK companies employ one million people in America and US companies employ a similar figure today in the UK.

Our hosts Sage are a wonderful case in point, employing 2,000 people across the US.

And here in Illinois, over 55,000 people go to work everyday for British companies – with BP, First Group and WPP being among the biggest employers.

Sectors in the US which receive the most UK investment are Business and Financial Services; software and IT; and pharmaceuticals.

In 2013, the UK invested $7 billion in research and development (R and D) as well as helping the US export over $55 billion worth of goods.

This is what open trade is all about, something I’d like to hear more of in the current American electoral cycle.

It’s about countries coming together to set the conditions so that businesses, skilled people, goods and services can move easily. This creates stability, enriches our cultures, and spreads prosperity.

I want the UK and USA together to lead the world as shining beacons of open trade.

The second reason I am confident of our future is the opportunity awaiting us as we prepare to exit the European Union.

The British people made by historic and brave decision to take back control of our own destiny and we must honour it for the instruction to government that it represents.

I am delighted that our new Prime Minister has affirmed that “Brexit means Brexit”.

There will be no backtracking.

No second guessing and no second referendum.

There are many issues that affected the referendum outcome on 23 June.

Sovereignty or governance was certainly one, immigration was another and the economics and trade played a part.

In terms of trade, if we look at the top 10 export markets where the United Kingdom has a trade surplus only one, Ireland, is in the EU.

If we look at the 10 export markets with the United Kingdom has a trade deficit 7 out of the 10 are in the EU.

Why should this be?

Well, with growth in the UK having been much more robust than the rest of the EU we have been an expanding market to the extent that the EU as a whole sells nearly £70 billion worth of goods and services more to the UK than we do to them.

Germany alone has a £30 billion trade surplus with the UK.

That is why it is in the interests of fellow European Union members that we leave in a way that creates minimal disruption for the Continent as a whole.

While we are still members over the next 2 years we will continue to support Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and encourage an ever more liberal approach to the service sector, including financial services.

As we enter a new era, however, we need to take account of the changing patterns of trade across the globe.

We are moving away from an era when multilateral agreements dominate the landscape to one where bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) and plurilateral agreements between small numbers of countries are becoming more common.

In the last 20 years, the number of free trade agreements in place has increased more than four-fold.

As we leave the European Union, the United Kingdom will want to play a full part in global trade liberalisation utilising all the tools and arrangements available.

Flexibility and agility will be the key to economic success in the 21st-century.

We will need to seek out markets that are functionally similar rather than geographically proximate in an increasingly globalised environment that will make geographical blocks increasingly less relevant.

I have often thought that if Francis Fukuyama had called his book ‘the end of geography’ rather than ‘the end of history’ it would have provided a better description of the era in which we now find ourselves.

Leaving the EU gives us back control of our trade policy to set our own terms with the rest of the world.

We will have the opportunity to make our tax systems even more competitive, take an axe to red tape that can hinder businesses, and shape a bright future for the UK as a beacon for open trade.

And in due course, we will set out a very ambitious programme of free trade areas (FTAs) with some of the most important and growing economies.

I have already had conversations with foreign counterparts who are keen to strike deals with the UK as soon as possible.

And we will recruit and train many more trade experts so we are match fit to negotiate the best for Britain.

What will also continue is our dedication to providing market access to some of the world’s poorest economies.

And our ability to change external tariffs will enable us to help some of the world’s poorest countries to trade their way out of poverty.

A world of open trade will not only generate prosperity, but also peace and stability.

Throughout all of this, we will draw on the quintessential British values of democracy, freedom and the rule of law which have already transformed much of our world.

And finally, I am delighted that our ambitious vision for an open and outward looking UK economy is now reflected in a new government structure in Whitehall.

I am honoured to be the Secretary of State for the new department for international trade.

We will coordinate and implement trade and investment policy as well as, in time, negotiating free trade and market access deals around the world.

We will provide operational support for exports and facilitate inward and outward investment.

And that includes growing our footprint in the most important markets around the world.

Which is why I am pleased to announce today that the UK government plans to open 3 new offices right here in the United States, in Minneapolis, Raleigh and San Diego.

Renowned for their economic productivity and well-established research and development institutions, these 3 cities offer exciting opportunities to boost trade and investment.

Each office will work to promote UK business, economic and political ties in support of the Consulate General in the region, building on a model has been shown to work well in Denver and Seattle.

The Seattle office alone has supported delivery of approximately £8 million in capital investment and 1,000 UK jobs in the past year.

By bringing together trade promotion with policy, we will be much better able to champion British business around the world.

And I will work closely with my cabinet colleagues, in particular the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, to ensure we take a whole of government approach in maintaining Britain’s status as a great trading nation.

Before I close, I want to reiterate that we have nothing to fear from forging our own free-trade environment and breaking out on our own.

We can start afresh, and use our unique attributes to create a fairer, prosperous and more open trading future for the UK and the rest of the world.

The UK will remain a fantastic place with which to do business: investment will continue to flow and British goods will still adorn the supermarket shelves and homes of customers around the world.

We can be a beacon of hope for open trade….

…We will seize the world of opportunity out there waiting for us…

…And we are very much open for business.

We are optimistic, and we are confident.

Thank you.