The British government will open three new offices in the United States to promote business and economic ties following its vote to leave the European Union, the Department for International Trade said on Tuesday. The cities of Minneapolis in Minnesota, Raleigh in North Carolina and San Diego in southern California were chosen because of their economic productivity and established research and development institutions, the department said.
“Our ambitious vision for an open and outward-looking UK economy includes growing our footprint in the most important markets around the world and these three cities offer exciting opportunities to boost trade and investment,” International Trade Secretary Liam Fox will tell a business audience in Chicago, according to extracts released by his office.
Fox is on a three-day visit to the United States, including stops in Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles. The Wall Street Journal reported that in an interview Fox said early next year could be the best time for Britain to trigger formal divorce talks with the EU so trade deals could be reached before the next election in 2020.
Fox also said Britain would be able to negotiate closer trade links with the United States after it had left the EU, and that London would likely seek a free-trade agreement with the bloc rather than a closer customs union, it reported.
Each of the new U.S. offices would be staffed by one person, who would be recruited locally in the United States and would work to promote UK business, economic and political ties, the British government said.
A similar model is already in place in Denver and Seattle, two of Britain’s existing 11 offices in the United States. The government said the Seattle office had supported around 8 million pounds ($10.5 million) in capital investment and 1,000 UK jobs over the past year.