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  January 5th, 2017 | Written by

Brexit: An Opportunity to Steal Trade From UK?

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  • Countries will try to exploit the UK's break with the EU.
  • Future UK trade deals will not depend on goodwill from partners.
  • If confirmed, Willbur Ross will play a roll in negotiating a free trade deal between the U.S. and the UK.

Wilbur Ross, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. Secretary Commerce, has urged countries to exploit the “God-given opportunity” to steal business from the United Kingdom, according to a report in The Times.

Ross suggested that the present “period of confusion” in Britain—since the Brexit vote but before any formal processes have been started—would be a good time for Cypress to further liberalize its financial services policies in order to lure business away from the City of London. Ross’s remarks were made before the U.S. presidential election and his selection by Trump.

“I recommend that Cyprus should adopt and immediately announce even more liberal financial service policies than it already has so that it can try to take advantage of the inevitable relocations that will occur during the period of confusion,” Ross said, according to The Times.

Ross added that Britain’s departure from the European Union was a “God-given opportunity” for London’s compeition in the financial services realm, mentioning Frankfurt and Dublin specifically.

A Labour Party official regards Ross’s comments as a warning that other countries would try to exploit the UK’s break with the EU.

“Wilbur Ross’s comments are a stark reminder that the trade deals Britain will agree in future will not depend on goodwill from our partners, but on their own shrewd political and economic calculations,” said Barry Gardiner, the shadow International Trade secretary, according to The Times.

Gardiner went on to slam the present government of Prime Minister Theresa May for failing “to articulate a coherent vision of what kind of economy Brexit Britain will be.” “This makes us weak and vulnerable in the eyes of others,” he added.

Ross a 79-year-old private equity billionaire, has endorsed the Trump trade doctrine, which calls for any new trade to reduce the U.S. trade deficit, strengthen manufacturing, and boost growth. If confirmed by the Senate to head the Commerce Department, Ross would play a key roll in negotiating a free trade deal between the United States and the UK.