Payment Services Alternative

Existing frameworks for how trade is facilitated between countries in this sector

The arrangements described in this section are examples of existing arrangements between countries. They should not be taken to represent the options being considered by the Government for the future economic relationship between the UK and the EU. The Government has been clear that it is seeking pragmatic and innovative solutions to issues related to the future deep and special partnership that we want with the EU.

With respect to international trade, the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (WTO-GATS) establishes a baseline for trade in services including in relation to all financial services, including payments. This has been developed through EU FTAs with, in particular, South Korea and Canada.

Non-EEA countries are currently able to access EU payment systems. SEPA has specific access criteria against which third countries can be judged. If deemed functionally equivalent by the European Payments Council (EPC), an industry-led body that governs SEPA, and the European Commission has raised no objection, then third countries can participate in the SEPA schemes. Currently, Switzerland, the Crown Dependencies (Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man) and others participate in SEPA as third countries.

More widely in financial services, there are well-developed principles at the international level that seek to support cross-border activity and avoid duplicative regulation and fragmentation.