Trade Secretary Liz Truss said that countries outside the EU want Britain to “get on with” Brexit in order to begin striking free trade deals. This of course does not mean that Britain is in a desperate situation, as a Bloomberg article argues. In fact, London remains the epicentre of the financial world and Brexit just cannot simply erase London's “trading allure,” according to foreign-exchange market data.

Liz Truss on Tour

During her tour of Australia, New Zealand and Japan, Liz Truss said that senior figures she met in these countries expressed their desire to reach agreements with the UK very "quickly.” She said: "They just want us to get on with it. And what they care about is deepening our relationships with them. And also they want Britain to be at the table at the World Trade Organisation making the case for free trade."  

In the process of drawing a post-Brexit trade agreement with Japan, Truss argued that Brexit would be a positive thing, attracting new businesses to Britain and she called such businesses to express their views on what the deal should contain. Truss clarified that countries such as Japan, Australia, New Zealand and the US were considered "like-minded" countries with which the UK can begin striking its trade deals after Brexit. She said: that these are “all countries who are like minded, they're democracies, they believe in free enterprise and free trade, and we want to work with them to promote those ideas across the world." This is important for Britain in order to reach bilateral trade agreements in areas such as financial services, artificial intelligence and technology.

In regards to foreign leaders’ "massive enthusiasm" to strike trade deals with the UK, Truss said: "In Australia, from the Prime Minister downwards, everybody in the government is very, very keen to move forward with the deal with the UK, and restore some of those historic ties, which may have been diminished while we were part of the EU. The way I see it is that Australia and New Zealand are old friends ... with which we've got new opportunities." She continued: "There is a real enthusiasm for getting on with it. I heard that today from ministers in Japan. They want the deal done as quickly as possible. And I heard it in New Zealand and Australia as well." 

Delivering Brexit

She noted that ministers needed to resurrect the public’s lost trust in delivering Brexit on time despite previous delays. Truss warned that voting alongside Jeremy Corbyn was "hugely problematic" and that Tory MPs needed to be "backing the prime minister to the hilt."

Truss urged that now is the time that "we need to be looking forward and looking at the opportunities of Brexit. I think there's too much navel gazing going on at the moment about what's happened in the past. The whole point of Brexit is taking control over any rules and regulations, being able to strike free trade deal for the first time in 45 years. There's a huge world out there, which is incredibly enthusiastic about that potential and possibility. And that's what we will move on to."  

She underlined that, "We simply need to deliver Brexit. And the Prime Minister is being very clear. He won't be seeking extension, we are going to leave the European on the 31st of October. And that takes the wind out the Brexit Party sails."  

London remains the “epicentre” of the financial world

For Truss, getting on with Brexit cannot be disastrous, and this is also supported by a recent article by Bloomberg columnist John Authers. According to Authers, Brexit cannot diminish London’s appeal as a global financial centre. As he writes, “The foreign exchange market remains by far the world’s largest and deepest. It is where the world’s financial imbalances are resolved. And London’s grip on that market remains stronger than ever. Amazingly, given that London’s access to the EU’s financial markets will be weakened under virtually any version of Brexit, its hold over foreign exchange trading has only tightened in the three years since the referendum.”

While many banks and investors might have arranged to move part of their operations to Paris or Frankfurt, the truth is that they have not yet done so. Authers points out to the latest findings of the Bank of International Settlements’ triennial survey of the foreign exchange and interest rate derivatives markets, published last week, and which shows the market shares of the U.K and the U.S., of all foreign exchange trading.

As the survey shows, London hasn’t lost its appeal, and this is due to certain advantages. It is, in fact, that London’s natural trading day “overlaps at least a little with the main markets in Asia and the U.S.,” as well as the use of the English language, and mainly the “huge pool of FX-knowledgeable talent,” that continue to give it an advantage. As Authers admits, against his own beliefs, is that the survey surprisingly proves that the Brexit vote has not yet caused “irreparable damage to the City of London.”

Importers and Exporters: Universal Partners FX 

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With Britain’s future trade relationships in question, and a no-deal Brexit looming on the horizon, the government has been preparing for post-Brexit agreements in an attempt to minimise the effects of Brexit.

New Zealand and Britain trade deal

On Monday, Britain’s Trade Minister Liz Truss said that striking a trade deal with New Zealand would be a priority, as officials are working to create continuity and support their non-EU trading partners. Truss, is on a three-nation tour, which includes New Zealand, Australia and Japan, a trip that hopes to pave the way for trade negotiations after Brexit. Ahead of her trip, Truss said: “We’re going to be leaving the European Union on October 31 with or without a deal and as part of that agenda, striking trade deals much more broadly than we have been doing is going to be vitally important. Striking a free trade deal with New Zealand is a very important priority for the UK. It’s one of the first trade deals we expect to strike.”

Official data shows that trade between New Zealand and Britain is at about NZ$6 billion (£3.1 billion), with New Zealand being Britain’s 43rd largest trading partner in 2017.

New Zealand’s Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker said that he wanted to find a way that will retain the existing advantages of New Zealand traders despite Brexit. Parker said that among the subjects discussed, were finding ways to cooperate such as Britain’s potential accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Businesses preparing for Brexit

If the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement, it will be treated as a non-EU country. For this reason, it is significant that businesses in the EU prepare for this eventuality, if they have not already done so. Businesses that sell to, buy from, or move through the UK, goods, supplies or services will be affected.

Customs duties and restrictions

Without a transitional period, the UK will revert to the WTO rules. This will mean “declarations will have to be lodged and customs authorities may require guarantees for potential or existing customs debts; Customs duties will apply to goods entering the EU from the United Kingdom, without preferences. Prohibitions or restrictions may also apply to some goods entering the EU from the United Kingdom, which means that import or export licences might be required.”  No longer valid will be UK import and export licences, UK authorisations for customs simplifications or procedures and Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) authorisations. There will be VAT charges for imports of goods entering the EU from the UK, while exports to the UK will be exempt from VAT. Additionally many rules regarding declaration and payment of VAT will change.

It won’t be easy to move goods to the UK, as that it will require an export declaration. Movement of excise goods from the United Kingdom to the EU will have to go through customs before a movement under Excise Movement and Control System(EMCS) can commence.

UK businesses

UK businesses then that export, import or move goods and services through the UK will need to prepare by completing relevant documents so that the transition to post-Brexit Britain is as smooth as possible.

If you are an importer or exporter and are concerned about the weakening pound as well as unpredictable political developments regarding Brexit, get in touch with Universal Partners FX. UPFX can assist you with the complexities of cross-border payments and regular transfers, as well as hedge your funds against volatile currency market movements. Give them a call today to find out how they can help you save on your international currency transfers.