We want to attract leading scientists to East Anglia. Brexit secretary David Davis writes for the Eastern Daily Press after Article 50 has been triggered.

Brexit Secretary David Davis smiles after Prime Minister Theresa May announced in the House of Commo

Brexit Secretary David Davis smiles after Prime Minister Theresa May announced in the House of Commons, London, that she has triggered Article 50, starting a two-year countdown to the UK leaving the EU. PA Wire - Credit: PA

We promised people in Norfolk and Suffolk that we'd respect their vote to leave the European Union.

And yesterday we did just that by invoking Article 50, and officially beginning our departure from the bloc.

The country is now on the threshold of an exciting new future.

We will be free to sign our own trade deals, and determine our own laws, with elected politicians here making all the decisions that affect people's lives.

Put simply, we will have taken control of our own affairs, and delivered the change people voted for last June.

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This region is in a strong position to capitalise on that change.

The area is already home to a world leading life sciences, such as the world class research cluster at Norwich Research Park, and attracts the highest level of business spending on research and development per capita in the whole of the country. The government is firmly committed to building on that success.

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We will also continue to support the flourishing agricultural sector in East Anglia. Indeed, we want the UK to be a world-leading food, farming and fishing nation that grows more, sells more and exports more of our great British food around the world.

Leaving the EU offers an excellent opportunity to design better policies in this area, and as we develop a new British agricultural policy, we will guarantee farmers that the current levels of funding support will be maintained until 2020.

And it gives us the chance to determine for ourselves how we spend taxpayers' money that we previously sent to Brussels, only for it to be given back to us with terms and conditions attached.

Over the next two years we'll seek to build a bold and comprehensive new economic partnership with the EU, that allows for the freest possible trade in goods and services between us and the EU's member states. Over the last year there were over £25 billion worth of exports from the region and we want businesses here in Norfolk and Suffolk to be able to build on this in the years to come.

It will be in no one's interest to create unnecessary barriers to trade

And we will take advantage of our new place in the world to reach out further afield, to some of the world's fastest growing economies, beginning trade talks with them.

Australia, Canada, China and the USA are among the countries keen to deepen ties.

The Government is already preparing for the future, beyond the two year negotiation phase.

Today, we are setting out our plan to end the authority of EU law and make sure that all the decisions that affect this country are made here.

We will also be able to design a new immigration system that brings numbers down to sustainable levels but does so in a way that is in the national interest.

I know for this part of the country it is particularly important that the country continues to attract leading scientists, and innovators.

Let me be clear — Britain will always welcome the brightest and best to its shores.

EU nationals already in the UK make a huge contribution to the local economy. Securing their status and that of UK nationals in the EU is something I want to agree with European leaders as early as possible in negotiations.

There are many reasons to be optimistic about our future outside the EU, as we deliver the change that you voted for.

Let's seize on the opportunities that lie ahead and build an even more global Britain.

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