Open to international business

Today is the 20th day that I have held office as the 689th Lord of Mayor of the City of London. As ambassador for all the UK’s financial, professional and business services, I have a busy year ahead; travelling around the UK and also across the world promoting and selling this sector to key international trade partners.

With this in mind, I am looking forward to strengthening the strong economic ties that bind the UK and Malta – having arrived in Malta today, via Doha and Kuwait City. During forthcoming meetings with the Minister of Finance, the Governor of the Central Bank, the Malta Financial Services Authority and the Stock Exchange, I will reiterate one central message: the UK is open for business.

Malta is the third in 29 countries that I will visit over the coming year – spending approximately 100 days overseas, meeting government ministers, regulators, governors of central banks and captains of industry, in order to discuss the virtues of a strong economic partnership with the City and how such a partnership might support growth and development in these countries. We in the UK are committed to demonstrating our openness to international business – which will continue after the historic vote this June, to leave the EU.

In my view, we will make a success of Brexit by harnessing new opportunities and working carefully and collaboratively to overcome a number of hurdles.

As the world’s leading financial centre, London and the rest of the UK act as a link for global trade with the wider European market

UK commerce has a responsibility to protect the strength and health of our communities, and this is why the City has been vocal on what we want to see coming out of the Brexit negotiations – access to the Single Market, passporting arrangements for financial services firms and the ability to attract the brightest and best from across the world.

We have some of the world’s best financial and professional services firms – uniquely experienced in everything from raising finance to capital investment, and from legal dispute resolution to financial technology.

I often say that within 200 metres of my offices in the heart of the City, you can find world-leading experts in any field in financial and professional services.

Indeed, recent research by the consultancy firm EY showed just how much these experts are valued. After interviewing a number of chief financial officers at European corporates, EY’s evidence-based research revealed that the loss of the City of London financial cluster would mean that the cost of some financial services, like the cost of funding, is likely to increase for EU corporates, while the market capacity of these services may be reduced.

It adds weight to the argument that as much as the UK needs the EU as a trading partner, so too does the EU value the UK as the centre for finance for the whole of Europe.

The UK is a natural partner of choice for any ambitious country that plans to grow their economy. We want to see open trade, cross-border investment and commercial opportunities as the drivers of this growth. The UK’s financial and professional services firms stand ready to help facilitate this.

As our International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said earlier this year: “Free and fair trade is fundamental to the prosperity of the United Kingdom and the world economy.”

We in the City agree wholeheartedly with this message, and I am proud to convey it both in the UK and overseas, over the next 12 months.

Andrew Parmley is the Lord Mayor of London.


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