UK economic secretary Kirby backs Asia partnership

UK economic secretary Kirby backs Asia partnership

The UK’s relationship with Asia is “more important now than ever before,” according to Simon Kirby, economic secretary to the UK Treasury.

Speaking today at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong, Kirby centered his speech on driving change, innovation and connectivity in financial services, from a UK perspective, with a focus on the Asian markets.

“Working closely with our international partners, we will continue to advocate passionately for free trade and free markets,” said the economic secretary.

The UK is leading the way for developing new capital markets, according to Kirby. “We’re collaborating with countries across the world, in particular here in Asia, to develop the market for green finance to meet our collective commitment to stop climate change in its tracks.”

Kirby further identified the UK as the “leading western hub for the Islamic Finance”. It continues to work closely with countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, and with the Gulf Cooperation Council, to drive innovation.

India and China are also countries of focus for the UK. It is supporting them to “internationalise their currencies, helping them to integrate their financial markets with the global financial system."

Kirby acknowledged how the UK remains as Europe’s largest asset management centre – “with almost £7 trillion pounds under management.” 

It is also home to the most foreign banks, totalling 250, as well as accounting for almost 40% of global FX trading: “more than anywhere else in the world”.

“So the UK is leading global financial centre, and the natural partner of choice for Asian companies looking to go global.”


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