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Asian market reassured by Guernsey's 'Brexit' position

16 March 2016

Guernsey's offer of stability for international business during a period of uncertainty around the relationship between the UK and the European Union has been well received in Asia.

Guernsey Finance Chief Executive Dominic Wheatley said that a regular question to emerge from meetings held to coincide with the launch of the promotional agency's new representative office in Hong Kong was how Guernsey would be impacted by a 'Brexit' should the UK vote to leave the European Union in a referendum on Thursday 23 June.

Mr Wheatley, pictured left, said that while there is uncertainty about the UK's relationship with the EU, Guernsey's stable relationships with both is an increasingly important part of the island's offer as an international finance centre, along with its continued meeting of the highest international standards in transparency and regulation.

"The people we spoke to in Hong Kong appreciated the fact that Guernsey's position with respect to the EU is very clear - we're a 'third country' now and we'd still be a 'third country' in the event of a 'Brexit'. They understood that there would be no change in our relationship with the EU, regardless of how the UK referendum goes," said Mr Wheatley.

Guernsey's Commerce and Employment Minister, Deputy Kevin Stewart, who was also in Hong Kong for the office launch, echoed those sentiments.

"Guernsey should be seen as an island of stability during this period of uncertainty. We're already a 'third country' for financial services and have had an established 'third country' relationship with the EU for a considerable time," said Deputy Stewart.

"From the meetings I had with businesses in Hong Kong, it was clear that there was significant interest in South East Asia in doing business with Guernsey. Therefore, they were pleased to hear that whatever the referendum result, there would be no change in Guernsey's relationship with the UK, the City of London or the EU. At this stage we can offer certainty, something that is absolutely vital for business."

The Guernsey Hong Kong office, which is located at Three Pacific Place in Admiralty, was officially launched at the beginning of March. The office will be run by Guernsey Finance and is the promotional agency's second overseas outpost following its Shanghai office, which opened in 2008.

Guernsey Finance's Asia Representative, Wendy Weng, and International Business Development Director, Kate Clouston, will use the office as a base from which to carry out further promotional activities concentrated on the wider South East Asian market. It is also being utilised by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) to provide regulatory advice to those in the region who might be considering Guernsey-specific ventures.

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