EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: Lord Risby

Lord Risby

My Lords, I very much hope that, as an independent entity, we can enjoy a positive and productive relationship with the European Union. Its prosperity is in our interests.

Our new status unlocks the capacity to embrace new trade and investment relationships. Of course, many of our 63 accords signed up to essentially replace existing EU trade agreements, but all offer expansion potential. For example, clear parameters have been agreed with Japan for regular meetings to examine expanding financial sector linkages. For the first time, the Bank of England, the Stock Exchange and HM Treasury are formally participating in this process. Japan is anxious to support our membership of the CPTPP, the trans-Pacific partnership, which it is chairing this year and to which we are soon to apply. It is worth noting that, in dollar terms, while the United States’ share of world GDP remained steady at 25% between 1990 and 2019, the EU’s fell from 30% to 20%. The pointers are obvious.

Many of your Lordships have underlined the necessity for us to obtain equivalence for our financial sector. My noble friend has reiterated our commitment, but the real competition for us, and indeed for any other financial sector, is New York and Singapore. So, for our unique financial sector, we must make sure that our interests are recognised—and indeed, in the interests of all of Europe.

Of course, our financial institutions will inevitably have increased their activities in the EU, but our financial sector coped brilliantly with the huge changes that occurred during the big bang, and it resurrected itself after the huge damage done by excess and the dysfunctional regulatory system that marked the financial crisis. Our financial sector should, and will, remain an irreplaceable asset for us and indeed for our neighbours.