Brexit: UK’s trade with EU is declining says council chief
Speaking to CGTN, Wayne Fitzgerald, Deputy Leader of Peterborough City Council, dismantled claims Brexit will be detrimental to the UK in terms of trading and economic opportunities going forward. He said: “Financially the stock markets have rallied this week in terms of financial centre. We are now providing more financial services outside of the EU. Trade in Europe has declined, year on year.
“It is not the power base you think it is. The rest of the world is the global nations of traders. There is more trade there than there is in the EU.
“Our trade deficit was £18 million in 2019 and a surplus of £52 million with non-EU countries.
“The EU rely more on Britain than the other way around.
“Britain is a thriving nation.”
He added: “Look, we have a pandemic and that is an unfortunate situation the world has found itself in.
“But this country is ahead of the game. We are rolling out those vaccinations and we are doing it quicker than everybody else.”
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The UK and EU agreed to a comprehensive trade agreement on Christmas Eve, which came into force on January 1.
But there was very little mention of financial services in the agreement, with negotiations on the issue beginning this week.
The industry acts as the backbone of the UK economy, with the Government eager to agree on a deal as soon as possible.
Financial services contributed £132billion to the economy in 2018, almost seven percent of Britain’s total economic output.
Last year the City of London exported £25billion of services to the EU, making Europe a key market on which a finance deal must be negotiated.
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However, speaking to MPs Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said the UK must not let Brussels dictate the terms of the agreement and Britain must not be forced to follow EU rules.
He told the Treasury select committee: “I would strongly recommend that we do not become a rule-taker.
“I think that is a very bad place to end up.”
Brussels is yet to rule on so-called “equivalence” for UK firms, in which the trade bloc will determine if it is satisfied Britain’s rules and regulations are suitably compatible with its own that firms in London can have access to the EU market.
The UK has already granted equivalence status to EU finance firms in 17 areas, but Brussels has so far only given British businesses temporary equivalence status.
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The bloc may demand the UK remain strapped to its rules as a condition for giving London access to the continent.
Mr Bailey warned such an outcome would be bad for Britain and must be rejected by negotiators.
He said: “If the price of that is no equivalence, then I’m afraid that will follow.
“That is the wrong outcome for the UK, but if that is where it goes.
“I am strongly opposed to rule-taking.”
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