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UK must bolster economic defences, Deputy PM to warn

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Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden is to address the Chatham House think tank on Thursday (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Britain needs to boost its economic defences to counter the “security risks” of globalisation, the Deputy Prime Minister is set to warn.

In a speech on Thursday, Oliver Dowden is expected to set out plans to bolster the UK’s ability to deal with “economic security shocks” such as the rise in energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He is expected to tell the Chatham House think tank that, “while the financial crash exposed the economic risks of globalisation, today’s rising geopolitical competition is demonstrating the security risks behind such integration”.

One of the great strengths of our system is its openness, but that also brings vulnerabilities
Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden

Mr Dowden will add: “We must be clear-eyed that one of the great strengths of our system is its openness, but that also brings vulnerabilities.

“Covid and Russia’s war on Ukraine both laid bare the interconnectedness of global supply chains and the extent to which they can be exploited, such as Russia driving up the price of gas, and Chinese acts of economic coercion.”

He is expected to set out a review of export controls of emerging technologies and the risks from UK businesses investing overseas.

The Cabinet Office will also publish a response to a review of the National Security and Investment Act passed in 2021, which will announce plans to “fine-tune” the system, including how it relates to critical minerals and semiconductors.

The Government has already used the Act to block a number of deals, including several involving attempts by Chinese companies to acquire assets in the UK’s semiconductor industry.

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