RAF FAIRFORD, England (Reuters) - British voters’ decision in a June 23 referendum to back leaving the European Union does not change the country’s commitment to remain a strong partner in NATO, Britain’s Minister for Defence Procurement Philip Dunne said on Friday.
Speaking at the Royal International Air Tattoo, the world’s largest military air show, Dunne told reporters: “(Britain is) not retreating into its shell.”
Britain remains the largest international partner on the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jet program, with about 15 percent of each jet produced by firms in Britain, Dunne said.
“We see no reason why that can’t continue in the future,” he added.
Dunne said it was still too early to predict the impact of the vote on Britain’s trade arrangements, but he was confident that the country would continue to have the strongest defense and security supply chain in Europe.
He said industry officials had told him they expected the aerospace industry to be “broadly unaffected” by the vote.
“It’s most unlikely that we will see significant trade tariffs coming in any future relationship,” Dunne said, although he acknowledged that Britain’s future trade ties with the EU would still have to negotiated.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Gareth Jones