Brexit Minister Robin Walker MP visited the Isle of Man to discuss the implications, priorities and opportunities of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, reports IOMToday.
Making his first visit to the island, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union said the diversified Manx economy was well-placed to benefit from new trade deals the UK would look to establish beyond the borders of Europe.
Asked if we could become collateral damage in any deal secured with Brussels who may demand changes to our tax regime, he replied: ’I think it’s important to recognise that a lot of progress had been made within the Isle of Man and other Crown Dependencies with regard to transparency and disclosures and making sure actually these are respected international jurisdictions.
’I recognise that the financial services sector is very important to each of the Crown Dependencies but here it has played a significant role in a diversified economy. It’s one that already trades very successfully globally and has established a good reputation in doing so.
’Certainly while the UK remains a member of the EU we will absolutely be continuing to make the case for each of the Crown Dependencies including the Isle of Man and why they should not be blacklisted because they are doing the right thing and taking the right approach.’
He added: ’Clearly after we have left the EU although we won’t have a seat on the table in the same way we will still have a strong relationship with the EU which will give us and the Isle of Man the opportunity to make that case.
’So we see the opportunities in this process of establishing a strong partnership but maintaining access to financial services.’
Mr Walker said he believed the Isle of Man is well-placed given its strong financial services base even as a third country outside EU rules and the fact that we are already part of the UK’s World Trade Organisation schedules.
’That’s something that the UK can support and learn from,’ he said.
He said the quarterly meetings set up with the Chief Ministers of the Crown Dependencies had been ’incredibly useful’ to understand our positions and make sure Westminster can represent them effectively.
’The UK government is committed to ensuring this strong relationship continues throughout the process of our EU exit and beyond which is why I will continue to fully engage with the Crown Dependencies,’ he said. ’Ensuring our successful withdrawal is a priority that we share.’
He said he had a useful and informative discussion with the Chief Minister and CoMin about the specific interests of the Isle of Man, which centred on how we can maximise future trade and market access to the EU and UK.
’It’s part of an on-going discussion between the UK and the Isle of Man,’ Mr Walker said.
He said he hoped his visit would increase the collective understanding of the areas where we need to continue working closely together.
Later he visited a number of businesses and organisations including farmers, manufacturers and fishermen to get a better understanding of their specific priorities in relation to Brexit.
He said the priorities were about market access to food and goods, recognising manufacturers have complex supply chains.
There were issues to be considered regarding EU citizens living here and Isle of Man residents living in Europe. And there was the need to create maximum certainty and stability.