Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May addresses a plenary session in the Congress Hall at the 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January, 19, 2017. The annual meeting brings together business leaders, international political leaders and select intellectuals to discuss the pressing issues facing the world. The overarching theme of the 2017 meeting, which takes place from January 17-20, is "Responsive and Responsible Leadership." Photo by Laurent Gillieron/European Pressphoto Agency
Jan. 19 (UPI) -- British Prime Minister Theresa May said the United Kingdom "is and will always be open for business" regardless of efforts to leave the European Union during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
May's speech in Switzerland follows commentary by Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, in which he said "Brexit"-- a portmanteau of "British exit" from the E.U. -- would have negative effects on both Britain and the E.U.
"Britain is and will always be open for business. Open to investment in our companies, infrastructures, universities and entrepreneurs. Open to those who want to buy our goods and services, and open to talent and opportunities from the arts to technology, finance and manufacturing," May told the world business leaders and politicians. "But at the same time as promoting this openness, we must heed the underlying feeling that there are some companies, particularly those with a global reach who are playing by a different set of rules to ordinary working people."
"Brexit" was the result of a referendum held June 23 in which citizens were asked if the British government should withdraw from the European Union economic bloc. British citizens decided to leave in a 52 percent vote.
May said the world is enjoying an "unprecedented level of wealth" but said people felt it was "not working for them" -- a likely reference to income inequality. She said world leaders needed to fight back against opponents of globalization, liberalism, and free trade.
"For business, it means playing by the same rules as everyone else when it comes to tax and behavior," May said. "It is essential for business to demonstrate leadership, to show that in this globalized world, everyone is playing by the same rules and that the benefits of economic success are there for all our citizens."