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Liam Fox reveals plans for offices to boost UK business ties with US

On his first overseas trip since being named International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox has announced plans for the establishment of three new offices designed to boost British business ties with the USA.

The Government offices in the cities of Minneapolis in Minnesota, Raleigh in North Carolina and San Diego in California, will extend an existing network which already covers New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Washington DC, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Seattle, Miami and Denver.

Each staffed by one locally-recruited officer, the offices will work to promote UK business, economic and political ties in support of the consulate general in their regions.

The Department for International Trade said that the Seattle office alone supported the delivery of approximately £8 million in capital investment and 1,000 UK jobs in the past year.

Dr Fox said: "I am pleased to announce ... that the UK Government plans to open three new offices right here in the United States, in Minneapolis, Raleigh and San Diego.

"Our ambitious vision for an open and outward-looking UK economy includes growing our footprint in the most important markets around the world and these three cities offer exciting opportunities to boost trade and investment."

On a three-day visit a fortnight after his appointment to the newly-created Cabinet role, Dr Fox has met US Trade Representative Michael Froman in Washington DC, before travelling to Chicago to speak at the Sage Summit for small and medium-sized businesses. He was later due to travel to Los Angeles, where he will speak at a British American Business Council (BABC) event.

Following yesterday's meeting with Dr Fox, Mr Froman's office released a statement confirming the US would be prepared to engage with the UK on developing trade and investment relations "at the appropriate time", but that this would not be possible " until some of the basic issues around the future EU-UK relationship have been worked out".

Labour leader hopeful Owen Smith condemned Mr Fox's decision to open an office in the state of North Carolina, which has been boycotted by a number of major businesses since it announced its intention to limit the rights of LGBT people.

Speaking at a rally in London, Mr Smith said: "Where does he chose to open it? In North Carolina. The state in America that because of new laws that were introduced in March discriminating against transgender people is then boycotted by Pepsi, by Bryan Adams, by General Electric, by Bruce Springsteen..

" It is the antithesis of ethical foreign policy. It is precisely the wrong thing for a British government to do.

"That was his first day on the job and he chose to do that."

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