“I will be getting on a plane in the next few weeks to move this forward. And, at the outset of this process, I want to make clear that that will never mean putting our NHS up for sale.
“As I go out striking these deals, I’ll have those two groups in mind – our great, exporting businesses, and the families who want the best prices on their weekly shop.”
The commitment on the NHS is significant because last month Donald Trump caused controversy by suggesting the NHS will be on the table in a future trade deal on his state visit to the UK. Any attempt to agree areas of a trade deal ahead of Brexit risks falling foul of World Trade Organisation rules – a fact likely to be brushed off by Ms Truss.
She adds: “At its heart, the case for free trade is the case for freedom… My ambition is no less than to make Britain the world’s beacon of free trade.”
Ms Truss made clear she will find a key role for Crawford Falconer, the Government’s well-regarded trade adviser, as she pushes for more trade deals.
She says: “Since I arrived at the department, I’ve been impressed with the world class negotiators we have got, and I want to unleash their skills to deliver for the British people.