Leading UK financial firms support push for ground-breaking UK-Swiss trade deal as part of International Trade Week
Today the City of London Corporation will, as part of UK Government’s International Trade Week, host a hybrid roundtable to discuss the future of UK-Switzerland services trade in partnership with TheCityUK, the Professional Business Services Council, and EconomieSuisse.
The roundtable will bring together both UK and Swiss Governments, and the financial and professional services sector to make the case for continued momentum towards UK-Switzerland trade negotiations next year. An enhanced Free Trade Agreement (FTA) together with the under negotiation ground-breaking Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) in financial services, has the opportunity to set a new paradigm for services trade.
The UK and Switzerland host the two largest financial centres in Europe. In 2021, the value of UK trade with Switzerland was £38.4bn with £18.4bn coming from services.
The event coincides with a new report by the City Corporation, Supporting UK-Switzerland Services Trade: Seizing the opportunity to develop a trailblazing cross-border relationship. The report explores how a complementary FTA and MRA would deliver measurable benefits to cross-border FPS firms in terms of increased market access and process simplification, boosting jobs, growth and competitiveness in the UK and Switzerland. Furthermore, it is hoped that this could be used as a template for future UK services trading relationships.
The roundtable will be attended by major UK and Swiss financial service businesses as well as the UK’s chief negotiator for the enhanced FTA with Switzerland, Matt Davies and other government officials from both countries.
In addition to maintaining momentum, the roundtable will also aim to underline the need for business engagement in ongoing and future negotiations. It will also discuss progress on extending UK-Switzerland Services Mobility Agreement which expires at the end of this year.
The event is part of the Government’s International Trade Week which aims to help businesses understand how to capitalise on opportunities secured by the UK’s new trade deals.
Policy Chairman of the City of London Corporation, Chris Hayward, said:
“The UK and Switzerland are the two largest financial centres in Europe which means strengthening the UK-Swiss services trade relationship is a top priority for the sector. A new free trade deal with Switzerland presents a unique opportunity to negotiate a ground-breaking agreement in financial services which would provide a template for the UK’s future trading relationships.
“An enhanced FTA should address cross-cutting issues including mobility, data flows, digital trade, and mutual recognition of professional qualifications.
“This roundtable will champion our relationship as an engine of growth. In the face of global economic headwinds, now is the time to strengthen our partnership with key allies around the world and delivering on this new UK-Switzerland FTA will be an important step forward.”
Chief Negotiator for a UK-Switzerland Enhanced Trade Agreement, Matthew Davies said:
Switzerland is an important partner for the UK, with trade between the two countries having tripled over the last 20 years reaching over £38bn a year, with services trade playing a key part in our bilateral trade relationship.
“As we look to begin negotiations on an enhanced UK-Swiss FTA, it is crucial we engage with businesses to understand how we can best enhance our already strong ties. I look forward to hearing views from both countries today.”
Ambassador Thomas Zimmermann, Head of the Special Foreign Economic Service Division, Switzerland said:
“Switzerland and the UK both have strong services sectors which could benefit a lot from an ambitious FTA covering services.
“We look forward to deepening the dialogue with our UK partners in this area.”
Notes to editors
About the City of London Corporation
The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk.
About Chris Hayward
Throughout his career Chris Hayward has worked in the construction, aviation, infrastructure and global events management sectors. He is currently a Director at leading communications agency JBP, a consultant at Keltbray Limited, and Director of Hayward Properties Limited. He is a former Deputy Leader of Hertfordshire and Dorset County Councils. As Policy Chairman, he effectively operates as the political Leader of the City Corporation.