It’s time for London to look beyond Brexit and focus on a decade of Asian engagement

Sherry Madera
By 2025, the region is expected to contribute to 45 per cent of global growth, and 54 per cent of the world’s urban population (Source: Getty)

As the UK is dominated by domestic politics and Brexit news, it is easy to lose sight of priorities in other global markets.

I have the advantage of spending half my time in Asia, and this engagement brings a helpful perspective.

By 2025, the region is expected to contribute to 45 per cent of global growth, and 54 per cent of the world’s urban population. As the UK projects 1.3 per cent growth by 2020, it is worthwhile reminding ourselves of the opportunities in Asia and how London can build relationships and business with the region for prosperity in the next decade.

Read more: Asian century: it’s time for British businesses to look east

Most people will assume that Asia’s growth is down to the economic giants China and India, and they’d be partly right. However, Japan, South Korea, and the ASEAN nations add to Asia’s diversity.

Financial and professional services trade with Asia is on the increase. As Asian markets mature, the demand for two way financial flows grow. Opportunities include inward investment to ASEAN, servicing Chinese demand for insurance alternatives, and collaborating with Indian fintech. Inward investment into the UK from Japan, listings of Indonesian Rupiah bonds on the London Stock Exchange, and Chinese bank growth show that opportunity is not one way.

It is with this opportunity in mind that the City of London Corporation launches our Asia Next Decade campaign this week.

The campaign for 2018 will consult industry on top priorities for future-proofing London’s relationship with Asia. How can London build on its existing relationships? How can both government and industry support new cross-border business with Asia? How can our rank as the top global financial centre support emerging Asia and bring growth to both regions?

London has never been a European financial centre; it has always been a global financial centre. Our Asia relationships play a critical part in the capital’s global ecosystem. Over 50 financial institutions from Asia already call London home, and many of London’s financial firms – large and small – have operations across Asia. But now is not the time to be complacent.

One school of thought is that the UK is correctly focused on our relationship with the EU as we navigate Brexit. But Perhaps there is another way to think about it.

Our government, industry, regulators and advisers need our support in showcasing the UK’s leadership in the global financial arena. London’s foreign exchange market is second to none globally. The UK is the largest offshore centre for the Chinese currency – the renminbi – outside of China. The London Stock Exchange is the world’s most global attracting a wider variety of Asian issuers than any other market.

The time is exactly right to be planning for the next decade for our relationship between the UK and Asia. Asia thinks in decades, and perhaps it is a good time for us to do so as well. Indeed, with collaboration and input, the City’s Asia Next Decade campaign can pave a path beyond 10 years.

By scoping together a set of priorities and plans that will benefit both Asia and the UK, we can think beyond Brexit and beyond our limited projected GDP growth domestically and through the Eurozone.

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City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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