Twenty years ago on this coming Saturday, almost 3,000 people were killed in an act of barbarism.
As the world marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the City of London will remember all of those who fell. Trinity Church Wall Street, at Ground Zero in New York, and it’s twin in the Square Mile, the St Mary-le-Bow, will ring the “Bell of Hope” as it does for every anniversary. The bell is a reminder of the close links between our two cities and nations even at the darkest of times.
The act of terrorism on the twin towers, the Pentagon and the hijacked plane in Pennsylvania, was not just a strike on America: it was an attack on humanity.
This is a difficult time for many around the world, including my former colleagues at Merrill Lynch. Citizens of 77 different countries died on 9/11 and among them were 67 Britons, the highest number of casualties of any country outside of the US. The fact there were so many Britons among the victims is a reflection of the deep links between the UK and US, a special relationship that has flourished since the Second World War.
The relationship goes beyond simple mutual interest, it is a deep connection interwoven into the fabric of both our societies, forged by a shared language, culture and set of values, reflected in family and business links.
These ties will continue to endure.
When the UK and US work together, they can help lead the world and drive prosperity. This year the UK and US signed a new Atlantic Charter during the G7 summit in Cornwall – updating the 1941 Atlantic Charter signed by Churchill and Roosevelt. One of the aims was to strengthen and adapt the institutions, laws and norms that sustain international co-operation. At the City of London Corporation we are playing an active role with our US counterparts to make this happen. We support the work of the US-UK Financial Regulatory Working Group (FRWG) to foster closer regulatory cooperation on market access, sustainability and digital regulation.
New York and London are two of the world’s leading financial centres, so what’s agreed in these conversations will likely form the basis of global regulations and standards for the new emerging sectors of fintech, green finance and digital trade. On green finance, we’re looking at how we can make capital more readily available for businesses and innovators around the world to develop technologies that will support the transition away from fossil fuels. This again demonstrates how the UK-US relationship is key to helping address one of the major challenges of our age.
The close ties between our two countries – including financial services trade – continue to play a vital role in driving prosperity and jobs not just within our two countries, but across the global economy at large.
Twenty years on from 9/11, UK-US ties have been tested but even in the face of adversity they will continue to endure – just as the inscription on the Bell of Hope sets out.