LONDON – Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Liz Truss as foreign minister on Wednesday, only the second woman to hold the position in Britain.
As trade minister for the past two years, Truss has been a strong advocate of Britain’s economic and diplomatic realignment towards the Indo-Pacific region, spearheading efforts to join a trans-Pacific trading bloc. The 46-year-old has struck trade deals around the world, including with Japan and Australia.
Here are some of her views on foreign affairs:
Truss has not succeeded in securing a highly-prized trade deal with the United States, with President Joe Biden’s administration prioritising a complete review of Trump-era trade policy.
However, Truss has helped to negotiate the de-escalation of a long-standing trade dispute over aircraft subsidies and the removal of U.S. tariffs on a range of British exports.
Truss met a series of U.S. libertarian groups that have championed tax cuts and deregulation for businesses in 2018, according to documents cited by Greenpeace. It cited a briefing note as saying Truss wanted to hear “what we can learn from ‘Reaganomics’ on things like regulation and red tape”.
“Reaganomics” is a theory that tax breaks and other benefits for corporations and the wealthy will benefit everyone else, which has been fiercely debated since Reagan made it a centerpiece of his economic strategy in the 1980s.
Truss had called for the world to “get tough with China” and has said the World Trade Organization should refuse to treat China as a developed country, a status it currently enjoys. She has argued that China benefits from exceptions to the rules which were made decades ago and no longer reflect its status as an economic superpower.
“The WTO was established when China was 10% the size of the U.S. economy,” Truss told the Financial Times in an interview earlier this year. “It is ludicrous that it is still self-designating as a developing country.”
Truss said some of China’s behaviour has contributed to an erosion of trust in the global trade system and urged other countries to clamp down on what it sees as unfair subsidies for state-owned enterprises.
“This is the time to get tough on China and their behaviour in the global trading system,” she said.
Truss backed staying in the European Union during the 2016 Brexit referendum but has said she has since changed her mind and has called for Britain to use the opportunity of leaving the EU to transform its economy.
She said on Tuesday that British firms must do more to take advantage of new export routes opened up by Brexit.
“The path to economic revival does not lie in retreating and retrenching but in free trade and free enterprise,” she said.