Much is made by politicians on both sides of the Atlantic of the “special relationship” between American and Britain. However, the new trade chief to President-elect Donald trump has issued a rallying call to business in America to take advantage of Brexit and seize trade from the UK.
Billionaire businessman Wilbur Ross, the US commerce secretary designate, said Brexit was a “God-given opportunity” for the American economy. While Britain was facing such a period of confusion, there was opportunity for relocations, he added.
Mr Ross will be the person who will head up negotiations for a free trade deal with Britain, following the referendum in June in which Britons voted to leave the European Union. There are now concerns from the UK that America will be looking to exploit Britain’s vulnerability following Brexit.
It is understood that Mr Ross made the remarks during a speech to Cypriot financiers just a few days after the Brexit vote. At that point, he had not been given a role in the Trump cabinet. He urged Cypriots to loosen their financial service polices in a bid to take advantage of what he said would be “inevitable relocations” as a result of the confusion caused by the Brexit vote.
He went on to describe the referendum decision as a “God-given opportunity” for rivals of the City of London, particuarly those close by in other parts of Europe.
Labour has now said that his remarks should be taken as a warning that other nations are ready to jump in to take advantage of the UK’s position after leaving Europe. The shadow international trade secretary Berry Gardiner said his comments were a timely reminder that Britain must remember that its partners would be making political and economic calculations of their own following Brexit. He again urged Prime Minister Theresa May to set out a vision of Britain’s post-Brexit economy.