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UK financial services has scope to grow in Asia, says minister

The UK's financial services sector has scope to grow in Asia, a government minister has said.25 Sep 2018

Economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, is visiting the continent this week. In comments published by the Treasury in advance of his tour, Glen said there are opportunities for growth post-Brexit.

"We’re stepping away from the EU, but we are not stepping away from the world," Glen said. "The UK and Asia have so much more room to grow together, especially in financial services."

On the minister's Asian tour, which will include meetings with counterparts in Indonesia, Malaysia and Japan, Glen will "promote the UK’s world leading financial services industry and encourage greater future collaboration in growing markets such as Islamic finance, green finance and fintech", the Treasury said.

According to government statistics, trade between Japan and the UK was worth £28bn in 2017. Financial services account for more than half of the services the UK exports to Japan, it said.

Last year, the UK exports to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, which include Indonesia and Malaysia, totalled £17.1 billion, more than half of which were in "financial or other business services", the Treasury said.

Brexit expert Guy Lougher of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: "The visit highlights the extent to which the UK will need to sign up, from scratch, to trade deals with a range of countries in its own name. The particular challenge for the UK, given its services-based economy, will be to ensure that those deals cover trade in services as well as goods, whereas most trade deals to date entered into by countries have focused on liberalising trade in goods."