On 27 February 2020, the UK Government published a document setting out its approach to the future relationship with the EU. The approach lays out a suite of proposals with the main element being a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement covering substantially all trade.

The UK Government is seeking the type of agreement that the EU has already concluded in recent years with Canada and other friendly countries.

The UK’s proposal draws on previous EU agreements such as the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, the EU/Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the EU/South Korea Free Trade Agreement. It is consistent with the Political Declaration agreed last October, in which both sides set the aim of concluding a ‘zero tariffs, zero quotas’ Free Trade Agreement.

Chapter 16 of the document briefly covers financial services stating:

  • The Agreement should promote financial stability, market integrity, and investor and consumer protection for financial services, providing a predictable, transparent, and business-friendly environment for cross-border financial services business.
  • The Agreement should include legally binding obligations on market access and fair competition, in line with recent CETA precedent.
  • The Agreement should also build on recent precedent, such as the EU-Japan EPA and international best practice, by establishing regulatory cooperation arrangements that maintain trust and understanding between the UK and EU autonomous systems of regulation as they evolve. This could include appropriate consultation and structured processes for the withdrawal of equivalence findings, to facilitate the enduring confidence which underpins trade in financial services.