Brexit
Brexit text with British and Eu flags illustration

British officials have launched a charm campaign to interpret the country’s Brexit objectives and to assure world investors after Prime Minister Theresa May made clear the country’s Brexit position this week through two notable speeches.

The two speeches given by May, one on Tuesday in Westminster laid out the Britain’s position on Brexit negotiations, another on Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos portrayed a more global Britain for the future.

On Tuesday, the British PM ruled out “half-in, half-out” solution to the Brexit and confirmed Britain would leave the European Union (EU) single market

This position was reinforced on Friday, when Philip Hammond, British Chancellor of the Exchequer, declared during a panel-discussion in Davos that “we have pitched our proposal not at membership of the market, but at a comprehensive free trade agreement between an independent United Kingdom outside the European Union, and the European Union.”

But he highlighted the free trade between the two sides, saying “It’s very much in the interests of the UK and the European Union, that we continue to have free trade between the UK and the European Union.”

He noted that in such a situation, the EU was likely to remain the UK’s single largest trading partner, and thus a “confident, successful, stable and growing” EU with a stable and successful currency in the euro would be in the UK’s interests.

Both the British chancellor and the prime minister stressed their respect for their European partners, hoping for continued close relations and trade.

But they also emphasized a more global outlook of the UK.

Hammond talked about Britain maintaining its competitiveness through reinvention, if necessary.

May underscored the ability for the UK, outside of the European Union, to strike new and far-reaching trade deals of its own initiative.

Both leaders were pounding out the message that “Britain is open for business,” with the prime minister going so far as to tell her audience at Davos that the UK would “step up to a new leadership role as the strongest and most forceful advocate for business, free markets and free trade anywhere in the world.”

The setting was critical, as the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is known for its mix of high level executives in finance, technology development and manufacturing, as well as political leaders from around the world. If there was an audience that needed convincing in order to attract investment in Britain’s global free trade future, this was it.

Some leaders did seem persuaded, with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, known for tough talk on Brexit, admitting on Friday that he was convinced that London would remain an important financial center for Europe after the negotiations were concluded.

With the British Pound rallying to 1.23 U.S. dollars on Tuesday, following a near 31-year low of 1.20 dollars on Monday, and holding, the United Kingdom still needs to bring back confidence in consumers and investors however.

Though Philip Hammond was sure to highlight a resilient British economy in 2016, he was forced to admit that currency depreciation was feeding into inflation that would affect consumer behavior this year, leading to a lower growth forecast for 2017.

This situation also comes ahead of predictions for a strengthening U.S. dollar that American bank executive Laurence Fink of BlackRock Inc. said would be responsible for potential market volatilities in 2017.

But with a mild climate of cautious optimism reigning in Davos, the British charm campaign may have had an effect.

While globalization proponents worry about U.S. President Donald Trump’s proposed trade policies and the possibility of American protectionism, a more global Britain could be a strong choice for many investors. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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