UK Foreign Secretary says Asia is place to find jobs of the future

Liz Truss says artificial intelligence and technology employment will be found in powerhouse economies of Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia

The jobs of the future will be found in the Asian powerhouse economies, Britain’s Foreign Secretary has said before an Indo-Pacific diplomatic tour.

Liz Truss said that Britain could boost employment in technology, artificial intelligence and quantum computing by working with countries outside Europe.

The politician, who is embarking on a tour of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, declared post-Brexit Britain was setting its sights on the Indo-Pacific region.

The new foreign secretary, who took up the post in September, said she was determined to “zero in on the opportunities of the future”, with stronger ties in Asia delivering jobs and opportunity at home.

“With the digital revolution only accelerating in the wake of the pandemic, we want to club together with like-minded partners to form a coalition of tech revolutionaries,” she said.

The trip is part of a policy to refresh trade and diplomatic ties, post-Brexit, revitalising Britain’s relationships with the fastest-growing economies.

“For too long, we have allowed our relationship with such nations to be under-powered – but now is the time for it to be turbocharged,” said Ms Truss, the former international trade secretary.

“We are using our newfound freedom to position ourselves alongside the next generation of economic superpowers and tech leaders.”

The Foreign Secretary will travel to Malaysia as part of a week-long trip to south-east Asia and will also visit Thailand and Indonesia.

“We are zeroing in on the opportunities of the future, such as technology,” she said. “We want to be working closer to push new frontiers of innovation with forward-leaning nations across the world in areas like AI and quantum computing.”

“This is about more than capitalising on today’s innovation, like 5G, but leading the way in the breakthroughs of tomorrow like 6G and beyond.”

Ms Truss said the inclusion of Thailand and Indonesia on her trip reflected their “growing economic and diplomatic heft”.

“I want to position Britain where the future growth is and to think about who our major partners will be in 2050 and beyond,” she said.

“South-east Asia will be the engine of the global economy and I want Britain to be part of that, upgrading our economic and security relations with the region to reflect its growing importance.”

She will meet the leaders and foreign ministers in Malaysia and Thailand, discussing defence and trade, as well as deeper digital and technological investment and security collaboration.

Ms Truss will also hold talks on foreign policy concerns in countries such as Myanmar and Afghanistan with her Indonesian counterpart, seeking closer ties on counterterrorism and cyber security.

Updated: November 7th 2021, 4:18 PM