Chancellor George Osborne is due to travel to New York on Monday as part of an effort to urge some of Wall Street’s biggest players to keep their investments in Britain.
Osborne vowed to create a “more outward-looking, global-facing Britain”, after the country’s vote to leave the European Union and become a solo-trading nation.
The UK is the US’s largest trading partner in Europe. Last year the UK was the US’s sixth largest trading partner and in 2014 UK exports to the US totalled £88 billion – representing 17% of total UK exports.
“While Britain’s decision to leave the EU clearly presents economic challenges, we now have to do everything we can to make the UK the most attractive place in the world to do business,” Osborne said in a statement.
“Pursuing a stronger relationship with our biggest trading partners is now a top priority … my message to the world is that Britain may be leaving the EU but we are not quitting the world. We will continue to be a beacon for free trade, democracy and security, more open to that world than ever.”
Writing in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Osborne said he would like to strengthen trade ties with the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Although Britain’s decision to leave the EU wasn’t one Osborne recommended in the referendum, “there is no point looking back in anger”, he wrote, adding that “in great democracies like ours, when the people speak we respect their verdict, and we must take it as an instruction to deliver.
Stronger economic ties between the UK and US are in the “overwhelming interest of both countries”, he added.
“As I will tell Wall Street, we want more finance in London, not less,” Osborne wrote, adding that the UK and the US are each other’s biggest foreign investors.
He said the question now “is not what Britain is leaving; it is what Britain will become”.
“One lesson of the referendum is that too many of our citizens feel economic progress is no longer benefiting them.
“Ever-higher welfare to make good lost incomes is not the answer; attracting private investment and good jobs beyond our major cities is.
“By managing day-to-day spending, we should commit to major investments in national infrastructure, including new roads, high-speed railways and digital networks.”
Osborne’s comments follows news last week of British Business Secretary Sajid Javid beginning talks with India about a bilateral trade deal after the UK leaves the EU.
Osborne has also met with senior Chinese officials as part of an effort to create a stronger relationship between the two countries.