Liz Truss to deliver speech rejecting 'Britain First' strategy ahead of US election

Liz Truss speaking in the House of Commons

Liz Truss told MPs that new trade deals after Brexit will 'undermine' British farmers - Credit: Parliamentlive.tv

International Trade Secretary Liz Truss is to rule out a Donald Trump-style “Britain First” post-Brexit economic strategy as she criticises “values-free globalisation” in a keynote speech in London.

In a speech which appears to show her manoeuvring towards appealing to US president nominee Joe Biden, Truss will say she wants a “values-driven free trade agenda” in the wake of Brexit, and she will stress the UK is “learning from the mistakes of the past” regarding trade.

The cabinet minister will criticise the “mercenaries of global trade” and the agenda of “values-free globalisation”, which she will say has led to state-owned companies selling subsidised goods around the world and “undermining free enterprise”.

She will claim the world has turned a blind eye to “pernicious” trading practices for too long, and reject protectionism.

With less than a week to go before the US presidential election, Truss will say that at a time of “America First” and the EU’s “strategic autonomy”, the UK “will not be pulling up the drawbridge in an autarkic Britain First approach” and must remain open to the world.


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US president Donald Trump has pressed an “America First” agenda since his surprise victory in 2016.

Ms Truss will say protectionism and a “values-free” approach to globalisation have had a “corrosive effect on the foundations of our rules-based free trade system, spreading disillusionment and distrust”.

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In a dig at Brussels, Ms Truss will brand the EU “innovation-phobic” with “its high tariff wall”.

She will claim the UK now has the chance to become the “ideas factory of the world” and reshape global rules in areas like digital and data, services and advanced manufacturing.

The International Trade Secretary will say: “I can tell you here today that Britain is learning from the twin errors of values-free globalisation and protectionism, and we are instead rooting our approach for global free trade in our values of sovereignty, democracy, the rule of law and a fierce commitment to high standards.

“In opening ourselves up to embrace more fantastic opportunities, we need to maintain a sustainable approach which commands widespread support and democratic legitimacy.

“The British people care deeply about fairness, decency and liberty. We can best spread our fundamental values – freedom, democracy, human rights and protecting our natural environment for the future – by working with our friends and family across the world.

“Our coalition of the willing won’t just deliver better values across the world but help deliver economic value. This is why I call our trade policy values-driven and value-generating.”

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