Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says the UK is stepping up for a better future through stronger global technology, economic and defence ties.
By Foreign Secretary Liz Truss.
The United Kingdom is stepping up on the world stage: setting our sights on the Indo-Pacific, where the richest opportunities await us.
We are venturing forth as a sovereign nation to pave the way to a freer, wealthier and safer future by strengthening our economic, diplomatic, security and development ties with friends and partners worldwide.
This week, I will be flying the flag for the UK across Southeast Asia while visiting some of its most dynamic countries: Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. For too long, we have allowed our relationship with such nations to be under-powered – but now is the time for it to be turbocharged.
We are using our newfound freedom to position ourselves alongside the next generation of economic superpowers and tech leaders. For example, Indonesia is already a powerhouse – and by 2050, it will be the fourth largest economy in the world. That is why I am working in a positive, proactive and patriotic spirit to cement our place as the number one global hub for tech, services and advanced manufacturing while building our links with the new breed of tiger economies.
Our approach is focused on how we will succeed here and now, as well as over the coming decades. It is driving our work with such nations as the host of the UN Climate Change Summit COP26, with a major week of negotiations ahead in Glasgow to meet our climate goals.
We are zeroing in on the opportunities of the future, such as technology. With the digital revolution only accelerating in the wake of the pandemic, we want to club together with like-minded partners to form a coalition of tech revolutionaries. That is how we can guarantee that global standards in areas like the free flow of data are in the hands of the free world rather than authoritarian regimes, upholding free speech while rooting out pernicious scourges like intellectual property theft.
We want to be working closer to push new frontiers of innovation with forward-leaning nations across the world in areas like AI and quantum computing. This is about more than capitalising on today’s innovations like 5G, but leading the way in the breakthroughs of tomorrow like 6G and beyond.
This approach will not just bring home opportunities for the British people in the industries of the future, but also bring about a safer and more prosperous world.
I want the UK to be the beating heart of a global network of liberty, which is why we are advancing our values, such as free enterprise, opportunity and democracy, from a position of strength. There is no finer symbol of our determination to do so than an F35 taking off from HMS Queen Elizabeth, as I saw for myself during its stop in Mumbai.
This Carrier Strike Group has been going from port to port, working and exercising alongside nations like Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, in its mission to protect our sea routes, supply chains and fundamental freedoms.
We are standing side-by-side with key partners as part of Asia’s oldest multilateral defence partnership, the Five Power Defence Arrangements, which unites us with Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore in support of freedom and stability. As we celebrate the pact’s 50th anniversary, such security partnerships are crucial to underpinning the freedoms we all hold dear.
Our recovery from the pandemic will be powered by free enterprise, which is why we are opening up opportunities for British businesses through deeper bonds with ASEAN’s valuable economies. Indonesia, like Thailand and Malaysia, has a booming middle-class craving the best of British, from our world-class food and drink like Welsh lamb to world-renowned cars like Aston Martin and best-selling computer games such as Minecraft.
With 60% of the world’s high-income earners expected by the end of this decade to be living in Asia, we need to be selling more goods and services into these markets. That is why our work to join Malaysia and 10 other vibrant economies in the Trans-Pacific Partnership is vital.
Joining this high-standards pact would open up a collective marketplace covering £8 trillion of GDP and half a billion people. It would also ensure we do not become strategically dependent on any one country by improving the reliability and diversity of our supply chains.
I could not be prouder of how much the UK has to offer the global marketplace. We are the world’s second largest services exporter, a science and tech superpower which is saving lives worldwide through our UK-developed vaccine, and home to the third largest number of tech unicorns – those billion dollar success stories.
We have a duty to make sure the UK is out there financing honest and reliable infrastructure for our partners with no strings attached. That is the best way to get investment where it is needed most worldwide, while supporting jobs and growth in Britain.
This is Global Britain in action: joining forces with our friends around the world, including the Indo-Pacific’s next generation superpowers, to seize the opportunities of the future. Together, we will deliver for people across our great country and the globe.
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