We have mutual interest in maintaining EU trade ties: UK’s Finance Minister

Words by Alexandra Gibbs | Reporting by CNBC Arabia’s Nagwa Assran
UK Fin Min: Have mutual interest in maintaining EU trade ties

The U.K. may have decided to terminate its membership with the European Union (EU), yet that doesn't mean both sides aren't dedicated to preserving close ties when it's comes to topics like trade, the U.K.'s Finance Minister has told CNBC.

"Of course the negotiations will be tough and they will be complicated," Philip Hammond, the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, told CNBC Arabia on Wednesday.

"We've spent forty years integrating our economies and now we have to separate them and there are lots of complicated things that have to be unpackaged, unbundled."

"And that will take time and it will take effort, but we have mutual interest in maintaining a close economic, commercial and trading relationship."

Following the U.K.'s decision to leave the EU in 2016, the world has been watching closely to see what Britain will come up with, when it comes to their proposals for Brexit, however no official plan has yet come to light.

As the triggering of Article 50 draws closer, several European leaders have stated that the U.K. cannot "cherry pick" the profitable parts of the political-economic bloc, while financial markets have been on edge as fears of a potential "hard Brexit" cause volatility.

"Hundreds of thousands of jobs on the continent of Europe depend on exports to Britain and hundreds of thousands of jobs in Britain depend on our services being delivered into the European Union, particularly financial services from the city of London."

"So as this negotiation progresses, it will be in the interests of both sides to make sure that we maintain the most open possible trading relationships between Britain and the European Union."

The UK isn't turning its back on Europe

Speaking in Kuwait, Hammond has been touring the Gulf region this week as part of the British country's push to promote trade, ahead of exiting the European Union.

UK Fin Min: Committed to defending out Gulf partners’ security

"What I'm doing in the Gulf is seeking to reassure our Gulf partners about Britain's openness to investment, to trade, as we leave the European Union."

"(Showing) our commitment to remaining (as) an active participant in the international economy and our absolute commitment to the security and defense of our partners and allies in the Gulf," Hammond added.

The U.K. is not turning its back on Europe but rather leaving the EU, Hammond went on to add, saying the country hopes to continue to have a strong trading partnership with its European neighbors, even as it builds "yet stronger trading relationships with (the U.K.'s) strategic partners elsewhere in the world."

"Britain's refocus on its relationships with the world beyond Europe represents a huge opportunity for us to do more trade, more investment and to work more closely together to the strategic benefit of both Britain and the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)."

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