27 Jan

'Scott Morrison urges Australian businesses in London to adopt 'strategic patience' over Brexit' Latkia Bourke, SMH

London: Treasurer Scott Morrison is urging the Australian business community in London to adopt "strategic patience" as they wait to find out whether Britain will still enjoy special passporting rights into the EU after Brexit.

The issue is key for Australian providers of financial services into the Eurozone as the passporting system allows businesses to operate in participating countries without needing permission from each individual country

Key countries include: Germany, Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

Britain will leave the European Union single market, Prime Minister Theresa May announced in a wide-ranging Brexit speech.

Treasurer Scott Morrison raised the issue with his British counterpart Philip Hammond during talks at 11 Downing Street this week.

Speaking to Bloomberg a short time later, the Treasurer advocated patience.

"We're very much proponents of strategic patience while these arrangements get finalised."

"They are incredibly detailed and complex issues around transitions and on settlement of the euro and issues around passporting for financial institutions here in the U.K."

"It's in everybody's interests that all of these things get sorted out in a very pragmatic and patient way."

The Treasurer will reiterate these comments at a G20 meeting underway in Frankfurt, Germany. He is due to meet Australian business leaders at a breakfast in Marylebone on Friday morning before returning to Australia. 

David McCredie from the Australian British Chamber of Commerce said it is in the business community's interested that the UK-EU relationship in financial services "maintains its strength, and open nature."

"Australian businesses are already showing great support for the UK's position as it heads towards Brexit with numerous large investments made since June 23," he told Fairfax Media in London.

Britain's High Commissioner to Australian Menna Rawlings and CEO of the Australian British Chamber of Commerce David McCredie. Photo: Supplied

Those who advocated in favour of Britain staying inside the European Union, including the OECD, argued that leaving would put Britain's passporting rights at risk.

These fears have been further heightened by Theresa May's recent speech in which the British Prime Minister ruled out "partial membership of the European Union," or "anything that leaves us half-in, half-out."

"We do not seek membership of the single market. Instead we seek the greatest possible access to it through a new, comprehensive, bold and ambitious free trade agreement," the prime minister said.

On Wednesday local time, Prime Minister May backed down and promised to release the government's plans for Brexit in the form of a white paper. The government had been under sustained pressure to spell out its plans in a white paper. 

"I set out that bold plan for a global Britain last week and I recognise that there is an appetite in this house to see that plan set out in a white paper," Mrs May said during prime minister's questions.

"And I can confirm that our plan will be set out in a white paper published in this house." 

The Prime Minister just confirmed to me in the House of Commons that there will be a white paper on BREXIT showing free trade benefits all

Tory MP Neil Carmichael said the prime minister had "rightly listened to calls from MPs on all sides" to subject the government's plans for Brexit to scrutiny.

"The white paper that is published must now be sufficiently detailed, and be published in time for parliament to be able to have a meaningful debate before Article 50 is triggered," he said.

"MPs from across the house will be deeply disappointed if we are not given the time and information needed to scrutinise the government's Brexit plans on behalf of our constituents."

The Labour London Mayor Sadiq Khan says the so-called "Hard Brexit" option would "cut Europe off from its only truly global financial center."

"Nobody should assume that we would see financial institutions and transactions move from London to Paris, Frankfurt or Madrid," the Mayor said in a recent speech in Davos.

"Business leaders are clear that we could see business leaving Europe and going to New York, Singapore and Hong Kong instead."

"Securing privileged access to the single market must be the top priority for the negotiations. It's critical for London. Nothing else will do," he said.

"A hard-line approach to Brexit could rip Britain apart," the mayor warned.


Posted in General by hmaclean@britishchamber.com

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