14:27 GMT06 May 2021
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    The UK's Secretary of State for International Trade says Britain has maintained its status as Europe's top destination for international investment, suggesting the concerns surrounding the tumultuous Brexit process might have been slightly exaggerated.

    Kristian Rouz - British trade secretary Liam Fox touts the strength of the UK's economy two years after the momentous Brexit vote, highlighting the solid investment influx despite what he described as a ‘scaremongering campaign'.

    Secretary Fox said the UK has remained Europe's number one destination for international investment, despite a slowdown in GDP growth, and a simultaneous acceleration of economic expansion on the European continent. Secretary Fox said investors are still confident in the UK due to the structural strength of Albion's economy, and its brighter economic prospects.

    "We were told that unemployment would rise and that the economy would go into recession and that our investors would desert us. What has happened? We have actually added 600,000 jobs to the economy," Secretary Fox said.

    This comes as the UK's inflation rate has slowed to 2.4 percent last month compared to its peak of 3.1 percent back in November 2017.

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    Meanwhile, the UK's quarter-on-quarter GDP growth rate slowed to 0.1 percent at the beginning of this year from 0.7 percent in 4Q16 - partly due to seasonal factors, and partly due to the lingering uncertainty over the Brexit negotiations between London and Brussels.

    "I think we have achieved a great deal. When we look back to the pre-referendum period and we were told that we were facing some sort of economic Armageddon if we voted to leave the European Union," Secretary Fox said. "We have record levels of employment and a 40-year low in unemployment."

    The British manufacturing sector has experienced a robust resurgence since the Brexit vote, while the financial sector has remained solid. Some business owners and lawmakers have sounded the alarm over the possible disruptions in bilateral trade and overall economic ties between the UK and the EU.

    "Thousands of skilled, well-paid jobs are now on the line because of the shambolic mess the government has created over the Brexit negotiations," Labour MP for Bristol North West Darren Jones said.

    Others are expecting new trade deals and increased trade volumes with the US and the British Commonwealth after Brexit is complete in March 2019.

    Secretary Fox said investors are more excited about the UK's economic future after March 2019 than they are concerned about the current macroeconomic figures.

    "Last year saw more foreign direct investment projects coming into the UK than any year in our history," Secretary Fox said.

    He also stressed that the volumes of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the UK's tech sector surpassed those in Germany, Spain, France, and Ireland combined. This comes as investors are expecting the UK's manufacturing sector - the most prominent beneficiary of Brexit - to continue its robust expansion. Manufacturing and tech typically go hand in hand in today's advanced economies.

    Secretary Fox's remarks come amid the ongoing standoff between the UK and EU over the future Brexit deal. The main sticking point today is the future border between Ireland and UK-controlled Northern Ireland, as a ‘hard Brexit' would mean a physical border across the Irish nation. Meanwhile, keeping an open border with Ireland poses a mass-migration threat to the UK. Hardline Brexiteers say an open border in Ulster would render Brexit meaningless, as one of the main reasons to leave the EU was Brussels' unlimited admissions of migrants from the global South.

    READ MORE: Ex-UK Cabinet Members to PM May: Brace Yourself for 'No Deal' Brexit

    However, policymakers at the Bank of England (BoE) are expecting the economy to get back on track this year, and gradually accelerate after the separation from the EU. The BoE also reiterated its commitment to gradually raising its interest rates to prevent the possible spikes of inflation in the face of full employment.

    The UK's unemployment rate currently stands at 4.2 percent, its lowest since 1975 - when the British pre-information age economy was on the verge of a massive crisis that hit industrialized societies in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

    The latest macroeconomic dynamics in the UK are suggesting that Albion's economy is gradually overcoming the consequences of the two crises that hit the European continent over the past ten years.

    Additionally, recent gains in industrial output suggest Britain could re-emerge as a sustainable, manufacturing-driven economic powerhouse after  Brexit fears subside by mid-2019.

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    investment, Brexit, European Union, Liam Fox, United Kingdom
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