British PM May to urge US firms not to pull investment from UK due to Brexit

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 6:21am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 6:21am

Prime Minister Theresa May will use a meeting with representatives of some of the biggest US companies in New York on Monday to attempt to reassure them that Brexit shouldn’t be a reason to pull investment from the UK.

Many US companies have found Britain an attractive place to base their European operations, but the country’s vote to withdraw from the European Union, the world’s biggest trading bloc, could jeopardise that.

The premier is visiting the US for two days to attend the United Nations General Assembly, where she hopes to talk about aviation security, migration and modern slavery. But she’s also put two business events into her schedule.

“Something like a million people in the UK wake up each morning and then go to work for an American company,” May told reporters travelling on her plane. “I will be talking to them and hearing from them what their emphasis is in terms of the issues they want us to address.”

May’s first business meeting is with senior executives from US companies including, the Goldman Sachs Group, Morgan Stanley & Co., International Business Machines (IBM), BlackRock, and United Technologies to hear their concerns about how Britain’s withdrawal from the EU affects their businesses.

The second is a reception in the evening for around 60 business leaders.

May is in New York at the same time as London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who warned on Sunday that access to the EU single market is “crucial” to the capital’s continued success. That has been the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, but people familiar with his thinking said Friday he has accepted this could be impossible to achieve. May refused to be drawn on her own views.

“We’re going to get the right deal for the UK,” she said.

During the trip, she’ll meet a series of fellow leaders, including from Pakistan, Japan, Egypt and Turkey.