TOKYO: Britain wants to align itself more closely with Asia’s growing economies as it prepares to leave the European Union, Trade Secretary Liam Fox said Wednesday.
The United Kingdom seeks to strike new trade pacts with countries that are becoming a larger part of its export market, he said, while also maintaining as much of its European trade as it can.
“This is where we’re likely to see a lot of global growth coming over the next 10, 15 years,” he told The Associated Press during an interview in Tokyo.
Fox was wrapping up a trip to the United States and Japan as Britain tries to launch negotiations on trade agreements with the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Asia for the post-Brexit era.
He appeared pleased with the strong backing he received from Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and key trade negotiator Toshimitsu Motegi for Britain’s aspirations to join an 11-country Pacific trade deal.
“It is as much support as we could have hoped to get at this point,” he said.
President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but the 11 other countries have forged forward with it.
Fox said that Britain understands U.S. frustrations on trade issues such as Chinese steel production and market access but favors multilateral solutions through the World Trade Organization and other forums.
“We think the use of unilateral tariffs, which can only result in countermeasures, increased costs, potential inflation and potential loss of jobs, is not the way forward to deal with the issue,” he said.
He added: “As I’ve said often, in a trade war there are no victors, there are only casualties.” -AP