UK trade head mocked at CES over Brexit

(Image credit: Mike Moore)

The UK's top political trade figure has been heckled at CES 2019 over the UK's stance on the world stage following Brexit.

Appearing on stage as part of the opening CES 2019 keynote, Dr Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, was met with cries of "Brexit" when asked what sets the UK apart from the rest of the world when it comes to innovation.

Fox was on stage to collect an award from Consumer Technology Association President Gary Shapiro recognising the UK's presence at the show and the nation's continued high-level work in the tech space. 

He was joined by representatives from Estonia and the Netherlands, but when asked what makes the UK a key player in the tech space, was heckled a cry of "Brexit", causing widespread laughter among the crowd.

Brexit at CES

"The UK, I think, is understanding that innovation is key to our commercial success and our prosperity, and also the well-being of our people," Fox had said before the crowd response.

"The UK has natural advantages - our legal system, the flexibility of our workforce, our permissive regulatory and taxation environments, four of the top ten global universities, we're a great timezone for trading, we speak English, and we perform standard IT protection." 

His appearance comes as new figures show that the UK and London are outperforming the European tech investment landscape, with Britain’s tech sector attracted more venture capital investment and tech IPOs than any other European hub in 2018.

According to research published today by London & Partners and PitchBook, London’s tech companies provided a major boost to UK investment in 2018, with the capital’s firms receiving £1.8 billion (72 per cent) of the total £2.49 billion raised by British tech firms.

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.