April 25, 2018 / 5:10 PM / a year ago

Hammond says in 'preliminary foothills' of Brexit banking talks

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, arrives at the Commonwealth Business Forum Banquet at the Guildhall in London, Britain April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister Philip Hammond said on Wednesday that London and Brussels remained at an early stage of discussions about how financial services will operate across the English Channel after Brexit.

Hammond told lawmakers that Britain and the rest of the European Union had only recently struck a deal to keep their overall trade relationship unchanged for 21 months after Brexit in March next year

“We have not yet begun the substantive discussions on the future partnership, but we are in the preliminary foothills of exploring what might be possible in financial services,” he said.

Hammond said in March that financial services should be at the heart of a new trade deal and the EU should drop its tough stance on limiting the sector’s market access after Brexit.

Asked by a lawmaker on Wednesday whether he hoped to have a deal on financial services by October, when EU leaders are due to consider endorsing a future trade deal between Britain and the bloc, Hammond said: “We remain ambitious to make progress.”

Reporting by William Schomberg, editing by David Milliken

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