His bold statement comes in defiance of demands by vindictive EU bosses that Britain can do nothing until it has left the EU.
And the international trade secretary has also warned that any effort to exclude the UK from EU business while it is still a member will not be tolerated.
Dr Fox was responding to suggestions that Britain should be kept out of the EU’s trade talks with other countries while it is still a member.
We’ve certainly got greater freedom now that we are in the process of leaving
And in a separate move spiteful Brussels bureaucrats also want to stop Britain from being part of the European space project despite the UK sinking many millions into the project.
Speaking to Bloomberg, Dr Fox said that starting the process of formally leaving has opened the door to trade negotiations with countries like the US to begin.
He said: “We’ve certainly got greater freedom now that we are in the process of leaving.
“Obviously we can’t sign any agreements while we are still members legally of the European Union but we can certainly begin to talk about what we want.”
On being excluded from policy discussions, he said: “We are a full partner in the EU until we leave and intend to play our full role.
“Clearly when the EU is discussing the UK, that’s a matter for the 27 and not the UK but we intend to exercise our full legal rights as one of the 28 members until such time as we stop being a member.”
The European Commission warned last month there would need to be “a discussion about the treatment of sensitive information in the context of certain trade negotiations, which the UK would continue to have access to while it remained a full member.”
The European Commission also wants to exclude the UK from £6 of deals on the Galileo space project and cancel existing deals with Britain.
A new clause means that contracts can be cancelled after 2019 when Brexit happens.
A supplier was quoted in the Financial Times, saying that the clause “makes it quite difficult for a company in the UK to contemplate bidding.”
The idea was rejected by UK science minister Jo Johnson.
He said: “The UK plays a significant role in the design, construction and operation of the Galileo and Copernicus space programmes.
“UK businesses and organisations are continuing to bid for EU space contracts.”
Meanwhile in a report on fishing after Brexit, the Institute of Economic Affairs has called on the government to overhaul policy.
It recommends ending all subsidies, including for harbour improvements but giving fishermen property rights over quotas which they can trade for cash.
Dr Richard Wellings, the editor and Head of Transport at the Institute of Economic Affairs said: “The decline of the fishing industry and disastrous exploitation of fish stocks has largely been down to the failure of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.
“Pumping vast subsidies into the sector has been counterproductive as they increase the size of the fishing fleet, opening the door for more trawlers to exploit free-for-all stocks.
“But Brexit provides a golden opportunity for the UK to regain control of its fisheries policy and look to market-based mechanisms such as introducing property rights in order to promote sustainability and productivity in the industry.”
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