UK faces fines if it breaks post-Brexit EU trade rules (FT)

  • The UK could be fined or lose preferential access to the European market if it violates the terms of a future relationship deal with the EU, under plans presented by the European Commission on Monday.
  • Brussels wants trade and other future co-operation with Britain to be governed by one strong set of enforcement rules, according to an EU presentation, shared with diplomats on Monday and seen by the Financial Times. The measures would ensure each side can act decisively to protect itself in the event that the other fails to honour its obligations.
  • France and other European capitals are pushing for the UK to stay in sync with EU rules in areas such as environmental and labour market policy, state aid and tax, arguing that future alignment is essential to protect European companies from unfair competition.
  • A particular concern for Brussels is how to uphold the “level playing field” of common rules that the EU insists the UK must adhere to in exchange for a duty-free, quota-free trade deal.
  • In particular, Brussels stressed the need for rapid, temporary, measures to respond to Britain breaching the level playing field.

JPMorgan Chase buys second Paris office as post-Brexit plan accelerates (FT)

  • JPMorgan Chase has bought a second building in Paris that can house up to 450 employees, as it steps up the shift of its euro-related trading operations out of London due to Brexit.
  • The US’s largest bank by assets said the move was part of its “strategy to continue to serve European-based clients seamlessly from major cities across the continent including Frankfurt, Luxembourg and Dublin”.
  • The property purchase was part of a series of announcements from the French government, which on Monday unveiled €8 billion worth of investments in the country from companies such as AstraZeneca and Coca-Cola.
  • Cities including Paris, Frankfurt and Dublin have been lobbying banks and other businesses to move operations out of the UK ahead of its planned departure from the EU at the end of the month on 31 January.
  • HSBC is also moving as many as 1,000 jobs to France from Canary Wharf. Meanwhile, the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, has made Paris, not London, its new base to provide “alternative” investment services across Europe and Asia after a charm offensive led by French president Emmanuel Macron.

As Brexit nears, Johnson pushes for deeper trade ties with Africa (Reuters)

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for deeper investment ties between Britain and Africa at a summit for leaders of 21 African countries on Monday that comes days before his country will leave the European Union.
  • After securing Britain’s departure from the EU, the world’s largest trading bloc, on 31 January, Johnson is keen to develop business ties with countries outside Europe.
  • At the summit in London, Johnson called for Britain to be the “investment partner of choice” for Africa.
  • The prime minister announced an end to British support for thermal coal mining or coal power plants overseas, saying it made no sense for Britain to cut its carbon emissions from power generation at home while supporting coal-fired projects abroad.
  • Instead Britain would focus on helping countries extract and use oil and gas in the cleanest way possible and on encouraging investment in solar, wind and hydropower schemes, he said.
  • Johnson also highlighted deals worth billions of pounds with countries on the continent, underlining the roles British companies are playing in providing anything from smart street lighting in Nigeria to environmentally friendly breweries in Kenya.