Liam Fox promised that the British government would immediately agree on 40 free trade deals with other non-European Union countries the minute Britain withdraws from the European Union in 2019.
The Secretary of State for International Trade insisted the United Kingdom would easily be able to copy all 40 of the European Union’s external trade deals “the second after midnight” during Brexit day in March 2019.
“We’re going to replicate the 40 EU free trade agreements that exist before we leave the European Union, so we’ve got no disruption of trade,” told Fox to a Conservative party fringe event that was held in Manchester.
“I hear people saying ‘oh we won’t have any [free trade agreements] before we leave.’ Well, believe me, we’ll have up to 40 ready for one second after midnight in March 2019,” said Fox to cheering Tory activists.
Liam Fox added that “All these faint hearts saying we cannot do it – it’s absolute rubbish.”
He also dismissed claims that a no-deal Brexit would have a negative effect on the British economy.
Fox informed another fringe event that while it would be “preferable” to finalise a deal with the European Union, Britain would “make a very good success out of” leaving with no agreement and resorting to trading rules of the World Trade Organisation.
“People talk about this as if it’s some sort of horror awaiting us,” said the Tory minister.
“But that’s how we conduct our business most of our time. The rest of the world trade on those terms. It’d be better if we got a fully comprehensive deal but we don’t need one.”
Liam Fox accuses UK media of “talking down” the United Kingdom
Fox took advantage of his speech to accuse the “metropolitan” media of “talking down” the United Kingdom’s prospects post-Brexit.
“As I’ve been going around the world looking for trading opportunities for the United Kingdom and investment opportunities I find something that I don’t see in the pages of the Times or the FT or the BBC and that is a real belief in the quality of the United Kingdom,” said Fox.
The Trade Secretary continued: “It’s time we stop this dispiriting self-defeating pessimism and start to talk up this country…”
“The people who talk us down are in parts of metropolitan UK who don’t seem to like the decision we took to leave the EU.”
Earlier in the day, Fox criticised various media outlets including the BBC for their “pessimistic” and “damaging” view of what Britain can achieve outside the European Union.
“I think it’s time that we stop this damaging, pessimistic view of our future,” told Fox to a Conservative Home fringe display.
“Because I think as I go round the world, I find countries all the time who want to do business with the UK, who want joint ventures with British companies.”
Fox continued: “It’s just that I don’t read that in the pages of certain newspapers – and I’m not even saying the three letters BBC.
“It’d be nice if some of the editorships of our press took the same optimistic view of our country.”