Today I’m attending the International Business and Diplomatic Exchange. Already we have heard of the importance of data to the future of business and trade and how Brussels and the UK have recognised this. The Executive Chairman Rudy Guraziu’s over view of the global economy and what is driving trade and export is very interesting. The great challenge ahead is how to solve the tensions in trade particularly in digital trade, investment and global tax policy on digital/online based companies. All this was overlaid by comments of Prof. Sir Malcolm Grant former Chairman of NHS England on Covid19, and how global governments have to think about how this virus is affecting all parts of trade and our relationships.
The discussion has amazing panel contributors from the Canadian High Commissioner, and the UK Permanent Secretary at the Department for International Trade, and the Global Managing Partner of EY. Importantly for London we are excellently placed to engage in the future of digital trade, and I look forward to contributing to that via the City of London Corporation, and with the tech community as a lawyer.
I must also mention how encouraging it is to hear the Canadian High Commissioner speak of her confidence in the UK and Canada agreeing a trade agreement very soon.
Whereas the comments on the EU-US trade were more cautious, noting that whilst the trade between them is huge, the challenges are huge and outcomes we may see go from trade wars to a new trade deal, and maybe only the world health crisis will keep the relationship calm.
In the second part of the IBFE conference: We discussed the future of Global Britain, and relationships with the EU and Commonwealth. The moment the topic started we encountered issues beyond economics. There are geo-political tensions between those the UK wants to trade with, how that can impact the offer to the UK is the biggest business concern. Sir Roger Carr, Chairman of BAE Systems sees different country relationships impacting how UK businesses need to go overseas, but says the UK Government positively contributes to the discussion, and it is essential to work with government to promote trade. His comments were echoed by Menna Rawlings of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office emphasising the Secretary of State’s focus on trade at the heart of UK foreign policy. Interesting that brexit is no longer the biggest concern of businesses globally, it is more fundamental issues of how open the economies of the world will be to the UK’s new independent status. Once again there was a big focus on data regulation and flow in trade agreements...but will we see it?