It turns out International Trade Secretary Liam Fox hasn't visited any EU countries on official business since he got the job

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International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has come under fire for failing to make an official trip to Britain's biggest global trading partner - the European Union (EU).

Fox is yet to make an overseas trip to see his counterparts in the EU, despite the bloc accounting for 44% of Britain's exports and with British businesses desperate to know what a post-Brexit trading relationship will look like.

Instead, he's been travelling to the likes of Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, as well as India and the US, a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the Press Association has revealed.

Fox with Brexit buddy Boris Johnson (Rick Findler/PA)
Fox with Brexit buddy Boris Johnson (Rick Findler/PA)

And it hasn't gone down that well.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron accused him of "achieving nothing" and urged Fox to work with European governments to secure a good deal.

"It's abundantly clear he's flying around the globe yet achieving nothing. Fox should be working with European governments and fighting for a good Brexit deal for Britain," he said. "If he's not willing to do that, there is really no point in his department at all."

Britain's exports to the EU were valued at £223.3 billion last year, according to the Office for National Statistics, while imports from the EU reached £291.1 billion.

That time the Leave campaigners told us £350 million a week would go to the NHS instead (Ben Birchall/PA)
That time the Leave campaigners told us £350 million a week would go to the NHS instead (Ben Birchall/PA)

The FoI covers the period between Fox's appointment on July 13 and October 11.

Allie Renison, head of EU and trade policy at the Institute of Directors, said she would expect Fox to give priority to non-EU markets in his initial overseas trips, as he prepares the groundwork for the UK's post-EU trade policy.

However, she added: "While responsibility for Brexit negotiations is split across Whitehall, it would be encouraging to see Liam Fox meet with EU ministers as well, given it will continue to be the largest market for British exporters for some time."

On a trip to India with the PM  last week (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
On a trip to India with the PM last week (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The Parliamentary Register of Members' Financial Interests say Fox did make a trip to Porto, Portugal, on September 30 to deliver a speech on free trade at the European Young Conservatives Freedom Summit.

Fox's personal spokesman said: "Dr Fox delivered a keynote speech on free trade in Portugal in September. Dr Fox and his ministerial team have and will continue to visit EU countries and global destinations."