Big business must "play by the rules" in a bid to make globalisation and free trade work for everybody, Theresa May told the 47th World Economic Forum on Thursday (19 January).

The UK prime minister, addressing the elite attendees in Davos, Switzerland, also declared that Britain was open to business ahead of its exit negotiations with the EU.

"Britain is and will always be open for business, open to investment in our companies, infrastructure, universities and entrepreneurs," she said.

"Open to those who want to buy our goods and services and open to talent and opportunities from the arts to technology, finance to manufacturing."

May added: "But at the same time as promoting this openness we must heed the underlining feeling that there are some companies, particularly those with a global reach, who are playing by a different set of rules to ordinary working people.

"So it is essential for business to demonstrate leadership – to show that in this globalised world that everybody is playing by the same rules and that the benefits of economic success are there for all of our citizens."

The expansive speech, which included a warning about modern slavery, shared many similarities to May's Lancaster House address on 17 January, which saw the Conservative premier confirm that her government would not seek to maintain the UK's membership of the EU's single-market.

The plan, alongside a new customs agreement with the EU, would allow the UK to broker its own free trade agreements.

"I am pleased that we have already started discussions on future trade ties with countries like Australia, New Zealand and India," May said.

"While countries including China, Brazil, and the Gulf States have already expressed their interest in striking trade deals with us.

"It is about embracing genuine free trade, because that is the basis of our prosperity but also the best way to cement the multilateral partnerships and cooperation that help to build a better world."

The speech comes just two months before May plans to invoke Article 50, the mechanism to break from Brussels, and trigger talks with the EU by the end of March.

But the Supreme Court is yet to rule on whether MPs should have a vote on triggering Article 50. A judgement is scheduled for Tuesday 24 January.