Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Cameron buoyed by Brazil trade trip

David Cameron and Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff talk at the Presidential Palace in Brasilia, Brazil
David Cameron walks around Mare Favela, north of Rio de Janeiro, during his two-day visit to Brazil

Prime Minister David Cameron has returned to Britain at the end of a two-day visit to Brazil to promote British trade.

On the final day of his whistlestop tour Mr Cameron said there were "good signs" that Britain's economy was finally rebalancing in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Following the success of the London Olympics, Mr Cameron said the "British brand" had never been stronger overseas.

He also gave his strongest indication yet that he may call for a referendum on EU membership if he is returned to power after the next general election.

Mr Cameron said there would be an opportunity for the British people to give "fresh consent" to UK membership of the European Union.

Speaking in a round of TV interviews during his visit to Brazil, the PM said: "I don't think it is in Britain's interests to leave the EU but I do think what it is increasingly becoming the time for is a new settlement between Britain and Europe, and I think that new settlement will require fresh consent."

He added: " I argue for Britain's membership because I want to be able to say to countries like Brazil 'Come to Britain and you can sell to the 320 million consumers across Europe'."

The Prime Minister also struck a determinedly upbeat note about the UK's economic prospects, with exports to countries like Brazil picking up again.

"In the last two years we've seen a million net new jobs in the private sector. That shows our economy is rebalancing," he said. "For too many years, the state was too big and the private sector was too small. We were too reliant on financial services; we weren't making enough, we weren't exporting enough, we weren't selling enough. That is changing. Businesses are starting up in Britain at a record rate. We need to get behind that and encourage that and that's what I do as Prime Minister."

Asked if he thought the economy had now turned the corner, Mr Cameron said: "I'm not a forecaster; it's not for me to say that. But I think what is happening is the rebalancing I'm talking about; that's happening. The private sector is growing the number of jobs, the number of people employed."

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