UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak highlights financial services, trade with Singapore, India

The United Kingdom's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak pledged yesterday to “sharpen” the competitive advantage of the UK financial services sector and seek new economic alliances as he set out his vision for the nation and London's post-Brexit future.

Sunak said that the UK was a very heavily services-oriented economy.
Sunak said that the UK was a very heavily services-oriented economy. Photo courtesy:

In his first Mansion House speech, traditionally an annual address given by the chancellor in London’s financial district, Sunak said Britain’s departure from the EU was a unique opportunity to tailor rules while maintaining high regulatory standards and open markets.

Sunak’s ministry set out plans to change a slew of rules inherited from the EU as the British government began to look further abroad for new economic partnerships.

"As we pursue an independent path outside the European Union, they will guide our economic relationships with other countries and jurisdictions," Sunak said in the speech.

He added that the government's plan was to seek closer links with advanced and emerging financial centres around the world and published a document setting out its vision.

Sunak and Singapore’s Senior Minister and Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Tharman Shanmugaratnam had on Wednesday signed a new partnership for financial services between the UK and Singapore as well.

"Our financial partnership will help increase investment and trade with Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region and boost collaboration on important areas such as fintech and green finance," Sunak said.

He had also said that both India and the UK were working towards doubling bilateral trade by 2030. India-UK bilateral trade stood at GBP 18.3 billion (about USD 25.3 billion) in 2020, down from GBP 23.3 billion (USD 32.2 billion) at the end of the previous year.

"We all have an ambition to hit this target of doubling our trade by 2030…(it) is the goal that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister (Boris) Johnson agreed," he had said at the India Global Forum.

Last month, India and Britain opened a new chapter in bilateral ties by launching a new Enhanced Trade Partnership, which also paved the way for a future Free Trade Agreement between two countries. 

Talking about areas of collaboration, Sunak said that the UK was a very heavily services-oriented economy.

"It is not just financial services, it's engineering, it's professional services like legal, accounting, engineering, architecture and so I think there's a great opportunity for our two nations to liberalise services trade between our countries to create jobs in both places," he added.

Besides trade and economy, he said, India and the UK are pursuing a comprehensive strategic alliance tackling some of the combined security threats both nations face.