At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister addressed the
issues that would face, not just Britain, but the world in the years to come.
She started her speech by saying that last year she warned that the benefits of free trade were not being shared fairly and this risked undermining the global world order.
The prime minister said the UK had been at the “forefront of championing trade deals” and would continue to be a “leading advocate” of free trade after Brexit.
She continued: “As we leave the EU, the UK will continue to be a global advocate of free trade…Pushing for progress on WTO discussions, seeking to bring new partners to the table, and of course after we have left the EU developing new bilateral deals with countries across the world.”
But she warned there is “much more to be done by the international community” on trade and, in particular, steel and that business and governments must work together, adding: “I understand the power of business as a force for good” and “the good that Government can do – creating conditions for successful businesses to emerge and grow”.
She vowed Britain will be “one of the best places in the world in which to start and grow a business”.
She told business leaders that “populism of the far-left and far-right” has not made the progress predicted.
Mrs May also held bilateral talks with the US President, Donald Trump. Things seem to have gone well and are back on track after the hiccup of the now infamous retweet by Trump of the far-right group ‘Britain First’s post caused a bit of a diplomatic row.
Mr. Trump is quoted of boasting of a “really great relationship” with Mrs May and being ‘on the same wavelength in, I think, every respect”. He told her “It’s great to see you. One thing that will be taking place over a number of years will be trade. Trade is going to increase many times and we look forward to that”. He went on to add that talks would take place soon and “are going to lead to tremendous increases in trade between our two countries, which is great for both in terms of jobs”.
“We look forward to that and we are starting that process pretty much as we speak.”
Mrs May said they had enjoyed a “great discussion” about the prospects for improved trade relations.
“We continue to have that really special relationship between the UK and the United States, standing shoulder to shoulder because we are facing the same challenges across the world,” she said.
“As you say, we are working together to defeat those challenges and to meet them. And alongside that, working for a good trade relationship in the future which will be to both our benefits. “So the UK and the US both do well out of this.”
Downing Street later said both leaders asked officials to “finalise the details” of a visit by Mr Trump’s to the UK by the end of 2018.
Continuing with her speech Mrs May also spoke about technology and how it advanced humanity, citing a story where a drone saved the lives of two young boys off the coast of Australia last week.
Developments in artificial intelligence and speech technology, and technology overall, were also noted. Mrs May said: “In all these ways harnessing the power of technology is not only in all our interests fundamental to the advance of humanity.”
Technologies, like the internet, were established with the “philosophy of improving people’s live”. She said.
When it came to online abuse she said there had been a “loss of trust”.
She said the UK was determined to be a world leader in becoming the “safest place to be online”.
After world leaders set out their different concerns this week, Mrs May urged them to cooperate. Saying “the test of leadership is what action we take”.
She highlighted the “critical nature of international cooperation” and added: “we have to do more to help our people in the global changing economy”. The world “cannot pull in different directions”.
Mrs May ending her speech said “Let’s renew our commitment to collaboration – and set ourselves on a path to benefit all our people. Now, and for generations to come.”
The Prime minister’s speech comes after she sent a warning to Brussels insisting Britain had already agreed on a so-called Brexit divorce bill and “it’s to the benefit of the EU” to offer a wide-ranging trade deal, including financial services. Saying the City of London is “hugely important as a global financial centre” as she cautioned European Union leaders about the dangers of excluding the UK’s financial services industry from European markets.
Speaking to Bloomberg, at the World Economic Forum event in Davos, Mrs May said: “The City of London is, obviously, hugely important for the UK, but it is also hugely important as a global financial centre for the European Union and, indeed, around the west of the world.