Now that the UK and European Union have started a new chapter, the next few months will be critical when it comes to writing the page on future collaboration in financial and professional services.
The Trade and Cooperation Agreement finally brokered by UK and EU negotiators before Christmas provided businesses and households both at home and on the continent with some much needed certainty. Although services were largely not covered in this deal, we welcome the fact that an agreement has been reached, allowing both sides to look to the future.
This should not, however, be an end point. Our hope now is that the agreement will be the foundation on which a new collaborative partnership can be built and both sides can work together to meet common challenges and opportunities.
There are many areas where the UK and EU have mutual interests, including the green agenda, the digitalisation of the economy and the response to COVID-19.
The UK has an excellent opportunity to show leadership on the international stage and encourage collaboration in these key areas as it takes over the G7 presidency and hosts COP26 this year.
We also urge both sides to continue to work on other outstanding issues, including agreeing a framework for regulatory and supervisory cooperation, and granting data adequacy as the most legally sound way of ensuring data flows can continue between the two sides of the Channel.
As part of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the EU and the UK have also committed to reaching an agreement on regulatory and supervisory cooperation in a Memorandum of Understanding by the end of March.
This is a major opportunity to push for an ambitious dialogue which reflects the deep integration of our two markets. This could include looking at how we can take a consistent approach to changes or development of new regulation, with a view to avoiding opportunities for regulatory arbitrage.
Cooperation is also vital in relation to international standards, in terms of both development and implementation. Finally, we suggest that consideration should be given to the impacts of new initiatives on each other’s markets, and structured engagement with industry representatives should be established.
Putting up unnecessary barriers to market access will ultimately work to the detriment not only of businesses who trade across borders, but also consumers themselves. Working together against the fragmentation of global markets will benefit all of us.
We believe that a positive and collaborative relationship will enable both the UK and the EU to succeed and thrive.
The UK has left the European Union, but we retain historical, cultural and commercial links, as well as geographical closeness. The Free Trade Agreement represents an opportunity to forge a new relationship and open a new dialogue with our European neighbours, as partners not as opponents.