UK trade secretary blasts protectionism in ‘Britain is back’ WTO address

U.K. Trade Secretary Liz Truss | Leon Neal/Getty Images

UK trade secretary blasts protectionism in ‘Britain is back’ WTO address

It’s the first speech by a UK minister to the WTO since Britain left the EU.


3/3/20, 6:30 AM CET

Updated 3/3/20, 6:35 AM CET

LONDON — U.K. Trade Secretary Liz Truss will blast protectionism as she tells the World Trade Organization “Britain is back” on the world stage.

The comments, in a speech to the WTO general council meeting in Geneva, are likely to be seen as a rebuke of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has imposed sweeping tariffs on competitor products entering the American market, sparking trade wars across the globe.

“The more we allow people to shape their own lives, remove barriers to enterprise within and between nations, and allow human ingenuity to flourish, the more rewards we will all reap,” Truss will say, according to excerpts of her speech sent to journalists. “So, we will work with all nations that share this multilateral vision, to lead the defense of free, fair, rules-based international trade, pioneering a route to prosperity that lies through working together, not protectionism.”

Truss will deliver the address — the first by a U.K. minister since Britain left the EU and became a WTO member in its own right — as the dispute resolution mechanism of the WTO hangs on life-support.

Trump has blocked appointments to the appellate body, which rules on disputes, rendering it unable to function since December last year.

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