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Time for UK parliament to step up to preserve Britain’s reputation

“Debates in the U.K. parliament are monitored closely, and with mounting alarm, in boardrooms around the world,” the U.K.'s Secretary of State for Business Greg Clark warns | Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Opinion

Time for UK parliament to step up to preserve Britain’s reputation

UK business secretary, writing from a trip to Berlin, says companies need a Brexit deal to restore confidence in Britain.

By

1/9/19, 11:00 PM CET

Updated 1/10/19, 10:57 AM CET

BERLIN — Since the U.K.’s EU referendum it has been my job as business secretary to work with companies and investors to convince them to keep faith with Britain. In doing so, I always make two main arguments.

The first is that Britain’s fundamental attractions are strong and getting stronger. We are an entrepreneurial economy, with world-beating creative and scientific talent and flexible, competitive markets. Through our modern industrial strategy we are building on those strengths — for example with the biggest increase in R&D that Britain has ever had in our history, and a national focus on the technological grand challenges that are sweeping the world and in which Britain enjoys a commanding position.

The second is that we are, and always will be, the pragmatic, open, pro-enterprise and dependable nation that the world has always considered us to be. That means, of course, that the U.K. government would always want to secure a cordial relationship with the EU that continues our ability to trade free of tariffs and unnecessary impediments.

On the whole, these arguments have proved reassuring. For example, of the five big competitive automotive investments up for grabs since the referendum,

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