MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Newly appointed UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Wednesday ahead of his trip to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Bangkok that the United Kingdom needs to broaden its trade focus, which long has been on Europe, and acquire a global trading outlook beginning with Asia.
“For too long, our trade focus has been on Europe. We need to expand our horizons, and raise our game”, Raab was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
The text highlighted that the ten members of ASEAN – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – had a combined population of 650 million and a 36 billion pounds worth of trade with the European Union.
“That means grasping the enormous global opportunities for the UK – and my first trip as foreign secretary will look to strengthen our friendships across Asia,” Raab added, as quoted in the report.
According to the foreign secretary, the UK companies need to be more ambitious in targeting non-European markets.
On Saturday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, during his visit to Wales, also promised to seek new trade deals and expansion of trading opportunities of the United Kingdom around the world.
Johnson has repeatedly stated his determination to withdraw the United Kingdom from the bloc by the 31 October deadline, with or without a deal. In his first speech as prime minister on Wednesday, he said that while London would work to secure a new and “better” deal with the European Union, preparations for a potential no-deal Brexit would be necessary if “Brussels refuses any further to negotiate”.
The United Kingdom was supposed to leave the bloc in March but failed to do so because the parliament refused several times to back the withdrawal agreement proposed by former Prime Minister Theresa May. In this regard, Brussels has given London several deadline extensions to come up with a plan, with the latest one set on 31 October.