Donald Trump aide Wilbur Ross urges Ireland to use Brexit to steal UK trade

Ross suggested that Ireland should look to profit from the UK's decision to leave Europe

Wilbur Ross, Donald Trump, Brexit,

Image: Commerce Secretary-designate Wilbur Ross waits for an elevator at Trump Tower in New York, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Donald Trump's new trade chief has urged Britain's rivals to profit from Brexit and take business away from the UK, it has been reported.

Wilbur Ross, the US commerce secretary designate, said Britain faced a "period of confusion" following the EU vote, according to The Times.

He said that it was "inevitable" there would be "relocations" of businesses and institutions, and the billionaire businessman added that the UK's withdrawal from the EU was a "God-given opportunity" for London's financial rivals.

In particular, he named Frankfurt and Dublin as locations that could benefit from the UK's decision to leave the EU. 

Mr Ross will be responsible for negotiating a free trade deal with the UK.

His reported comments will raise concerns the incoming US administration will seek to exploit Britain's isolation following Brexit.

Mr Ross was said to have made his comments to an audience of Cypriot financiers in the days following last June's referendum vote.

The comments were made before he had been appointed to Mr Trump's cabinet.

"I recommend that Cyprus should adopt and immediately announce even more liberal financial service policies than it already has, so that it can try to take advantage of the inevitable relocations that will occur during the period of confusion," he is quoted as saying.

Labour said his comments, should be a "salutary warning" that other countries were ready to take advantage of the UK's vulnerability.