Tory Cabinet minister David Davis, the newly appointed EU Exit Secretary, said: “We’re talking to large numbers of people who all want to help and we’ll get a very, very large trade area, much bigger than the European Union, probably ten times the size.”
Countries queuing up to trade with Britain outside the EU were thought to include Australia, the US, New Zealand, India, Mexico, South Korea and Iceland.
“She has been very clear about taking a UK-wide approach to the Brexit negotiations and she is getting on with it,” a Downing Street insider said.
Senior ministers also confirmed that work on a plan for re-establishing border controls was underway with a warning that new EU migrants who attempt to come to Britain before Brexit takes place could be sent home.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said he was “scoping about a dozen free-trade deals to be ready for when we leave.”
He had opened “very fruitful” negotiations with Canada on Friday, he revealed, and is expected to fly to Washington for to meet the White House’s most senior trade negotiator within days.
“We can make Britain a beacon for open trade,” Dr Fox said.
“We’ve already had a number of countries saying – we’d love to do a trade deal with the world’s fifth biggest economy without having to deal with the other 27 members of the EU.”
Theresa May has appointed a new cabinet to take on Brexit as quickly as possible
Other countries that have indicated a desire to begin trade talks with the UK since the Brexit vote in last month’s EU referendum include India, New Zealand, Iceland, Mexico and South Korea.
Mr Davis, who was given the crucial new post of Brexit minister in Mrs May’s reshuffle, yesterday said the Government was aiming to keep tariff-free trade with EU nations after Brexit.
“It whether we keep tariff-free access that is the issue and I think yes, I think that is what we are aiming for,” he said.
“They know what we’ve always said they depend as much on us – more on us, actually – than we depend on them,” he said.
Mr Davis also said the Government wanted a “generous settlement” that allowed EU migrants already in the UK to stay.
But he warned that a date for qualification for being allowed to stay was likely to be set to stop a surge in migrants trying to beat the Brexit deadline.
“If we make a very generous settlement as I’d like to do, then people are going to say that will attract a lot more people in because they want to beat the deadline,” Mr Davis told the Murnaghan Show on Sky news.