12.01.2021 | Here we go again! Brexit negotiations restart this week as EU makes London power-grab
Source - The Daily Express

The sector was largely ignored in the free trade agreement brokered between the two sides last year. Negotiations are starting up with the hope of a "memorandum of understanding" in place by the end of March. The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "The Treasury has been in contact with the EU on it and the discussions are starting this week at an official level." In 2020 the City of London exported more than £25billion of services to the continent, with the Government eager to maintain access to the bloc despite having left the EU. Financial services are worth almost seven percent of Britain's GDP and bringing over £130billion to Britain's economy each year. Outlining the UK's aims for the talks, the Prime Minister's spokesman added: "We want to preserve financial stability, market integrity, and the protection of investors and consumers. "We did push for a broad agreement on financial services as part of the negotiations and the Treasury will continue that work with the commission beginning this week. "The joint declaration was clear, we are aiming to agree a memorandum of understanding by March." The frustration financial services were not included more widely in the free trade deal brokered in 2020 were expressed by Boris Johnson himself when he admitted the agreement “perhaps does not go as far as we would like” on financial services. The memorandum of understanding negotiated between the two sides in the next three months will outline how businesses will continue to be allowed to do business across borders in the UK and the EU. The agreement will seek to ensure the two sides continue to have similar regulations going forwards that mean similar standards are upheld both in Britain and on the continent. It is currently unclear who will head up the latest round of Brexit talks on behalf of the UK or the EU. It is unlikely the UK's chief negotiator for the free trade agreement, Lord Frost, or the EU's Michel Barnier will head up the new negotiations. For Britain's financial sector to have continued access to the EU, Brussels must grant the UK so-called "equivalence". The process means the trade bloc agreeing London's rules and regulations are compatible with those of the EU27's. While the UK granted EU firms equivalence on 17 different areas in November, Brussels is yet to reciprocate.

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