City pushes for Swiss-style EU trade deal

Brexit 2

City of London officials are lobbying for a unique trade deal with Europe that will build on the model Switzerland has with the EU.

According to the Financial Times, lawyers and bank bosses have been working on a plan to present to the Cabinet committee for Brexit, led by Prime Minister Theresa May, in early September.

A City taskforce, chaired by Santander chair Shriti Vadera, was given a blueprint for the UK’s relationship with the EU once it has exited the union. The report came from the British Bankers’ Association, advised by law form Clifford Chance and Global Counsel.

BBA chief executive Anthony Browne reportedly wants a bilateral deal with as much two-way market access as is possible.

The Swiss model gives some financial sectors – including life insurance – full two-way access through passporting rights while maintaining regulatory equivalence with the EU.

The City is expected to argue that because the UK is the biggest export market for the rest of the EU it should be able to negotiate an enhanced version of the Swiss model.

One potential obstacle to the UK achieving a bespoke trade deal is the EU pushing for the UK to accept freedom of movement across Europe if it wants single market access.

May reportedly wants initial positions to be ready in Autumn.

A Treasury spokesperson says: “We are actively engaged with the financial services sector and welcome its input as we prepare for the negotiations to exit the EU. Our position is absolutely clear, Britain remains open for business and we will work hard to get the best deal possible deal.”