“Christmas Comes Early” With Initial Brexit Deal

Shanny Basar

Miles Celic, chief executive of lobby group TheCityUK, said: “This agreement in principle between the UK and the EU to move beyond phase 1 is a positive and encouraging step in the negotiations. We now look to next week’s European Council meeting to see these recommendations endorsed.

For the financial and related professional services industry, our critical issues must now be progressed. Negotiating arrangements on a transition with robust legal and regulatory underpinnings must be an absolute priority. The sand in the timer is running out: leave it too late and damage will be done to both the UK and the EU. European competitiveness will ultimately be weakened as functionality will likely leave Europe for other international financial centres.

Knowing what we are transitioning to is critical. We urge the UK and the EU to now focus on negotiating an ambitious, comprehensive and bespoke free trade agreement (FTA). Given the dominance of services to both the British and EU economies, it is essential that an FTA covers goods and services, and is based on mutual recognition and regulatory cooperation. This will be in the best interests of the UK, the EU27 and for global stability. It is also vital that existing services contracts can be grandfathered post Brexit. This will be vital for continuity of service to customers and clients. The FTA between the UK and the EU will be a significant part of ensuring this into the future.”

Responding to the phase one progress announcement from the European Commission, Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance said:

“Today’s announcement is certainly a positive step, making important progress in the negotiations and bringing a welcome and significant clarity on the rights of EU citizens living and working in the UK. But the agreement on Phase One issues is just the start – we now need to see the detail and further action on those issues that will determine the real impact of Brexit on the economy, consumers and jobs. Businesses need to see clear progress in the New Year on the future trading relationship and how we will transition to any new arrangements to ensure we can continue to meet the needs of customers.”

UK Finance is a new trade association formed in July 2017 to represent the finance and banking industry and represents around 300 firms in the UK providing credit, banking, markets and payment-related services.

In response to the news that Brexit negotiations will move to Phase 2, Catherine McGuinness, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation, said:

“Christmas has come early for financial firms with the news that Brexit negotiations can now move to Phase 2.

Government has made a bold but necessary step forward. But the hard work starts now.

The UK’s future trading relationship with the EU will mark one of the most important pieces of legislation in a century – it is vital we get it right first time.

An off-the-shelf trade deal, or one that is based on enhanced equivalence, simply won’t cut the mustard.

Instead, the new trading relationship should be based on a free trade agreement, introducing a joint dispute resolution body and mechanisms for mutual market access. It would be based on regulatory alignment between the UK and EU with both parties working together to implement new global and international standards, replacing existing regulatory frameworks.

It is essential that Government makes clear its aim to implement a transitional deal, clarifying exact timelines of when the transition phase will begin, what rules will apply to the UK in the interim and we need an indication of when the sector can expect to adopt the new rules.

We remain committed to ensuring we can assist Government in any way possible as we move towards departure date.”

Following the announcement that phase 2 of the Brexit negotiations will now commence, Chris Cummings, chief executive of the Investment Association said:

“Businesses up and down the UK, as well as across the EU, will be breathing a sigh of relief today that progress has been made in the Brexit negotiations, allowing the next phase of talks to start.

The announcement is a welcome step which allows businesses to set aside plans for a disastrous no-deal scenario and firms can now focus their attention on planning for a more positive outcome and looking after their savers and investors across the U.K. and EU.

This is particularly welcome news for the millions of EU citizens and their families living in the UK and on whom many high skilled industries like ours depend. They have been given the clearest sign to date that they will be allowed to remain in the UK.

We now look forward to working with the UK government and our European partners to help to shape the transition period and the ensuing free trade agreement that will govern our future relationship. Top of our list of priorities is making sure regulatory cooperation agreements are in place to protect financial stability and working towards a new regulatory architecture that will help the industry prosper long term.”

The Investment Association has 240 members managing £6.9 trillion of assets and employing 93,500 people across the UK.




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