February 27, 2020 / 10:25 AM / a month ago

Britain calls for "binding" obligations on EU financial market access

LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Britain said on Thursday it wants “legally binding” obligations on access to the European Union financial market coupled with arrangements for maintaining trust as rules evolve.

London, Europe’s biggest financial centre, faces being locked out of its biggest export market for services like banking, insurance and asset management if there is no access to the EU from next January.

A trade deal with the bloc should provide a “predictable, transparent and business-friendly environment” for cross-border financial services activities, Britain said in its mandate for trade talks with Brussels.

“The agreement should include legally binding obligations on market access and fair competition,” the document said.

The financial sector has said that the EU system of market access, known as equivalence, is opaque, and access can be withdrawn in 30 days, making it unreliable.

Britain says it wants arrangements to allow regulators on both sides to cooperate and build “enduring” that can deal with rules as they “evolve”.

Britain and the EU have agreed to assess each other for financial market access by the end of June.

The mandate says that Britain has left the bloc with the same rules as in the EU, thereby providing a “strong basis” for concluding the assessments on time.

Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by William James

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