George Osborne bids to strengthen ties to the US after the UK leaves Europe


George Osborne will travel to New York for talks with major investors in an effort to strengthen US-UK trade links after the vote to leave the European Union.

The Chancellor said improving ties with the US is now a "top priority" and he will urge leaders from some of America's biggest investors to stick with the UK after the Brexit referendum result.

Osborne has a busy schedule over the coming weeks, with a trade visit to Asia also planned in an effort to promote investment in the UK amid fears that leaving the EU could make the country less attractive to foreign firms.

George Osborne
(Andrew Matthews/PA)

The Chancellor said that although the UK is leaving the EU, "we are not quitting the world".

Brexit campaigners have insisted leaving the EU will allow the UK to strike its own trade deals with major economies and fast-growing countries without the added complication of agreeing a common position with the 27 other member states.

The US is the largest single destination for UK exports, and the UK is America's largest trading partner in Europe. In 2014, UK exports to the US totalled £88 billion, some 17% of total UK exports, and last year the UK was the US's sixth largest trading partner.

Osborne said: "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.

Brexit march
(Kaname Muto/AP)

"Britain and the US have been at the forefront of open trade in the last 200 years and pursuing a stronger relationship with our biggest trading partners is now a top priority.

"That's why I am travelling to the US, China and Singapore in the coming weeks and why 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."

The Chancellor has spoken to Paul Ryan, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, twice in recent weeks ahead of the visit, and he will welcome US treasury secretary Jack Lew to London this week.

Next week, Osborne will lead a trade mission to Singapore and China ahead of the G20 finance ministers' meeting in Chengdu.