The UK’s Got Trade!
The people of Great Britain asked for it (well, 52% did), and now they’re going to get it! In eight days, PM Boris Johnson will confirm the UK’s official Brexit moment, and a year-long ‘transition period’ will begin.
If all goes to plan, the UK and the European Union (EU) will put pen to paper on the finer details of a brand new relationship. “Comprehensive, constructive, and mutually beneficial,” say both sides. But it won’t be the same with British tradespeople out looking for new partners.
The whole point of having a trade union in Brussels was to centralize deal-making and outnumber other countries at the negotiating table for more bargaining power. True, most other countries have their own trade unions now. It costs a bit of culture and a lot of sovereignty, but at-least the EU28 bagged Britain some discounts on French cheese and Spanish wine, if not some good terms on Chinese tea and Jamaican bananas.
Throwing all that away to go it alone is some risk, but potentially a risk worth taking. The UK already has the US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (that’s “men-oo-chin”) acting needy for a trade deal. He said he was “disappointed” that his British counterpart Sajid Javid was ending things amicably with the EU before striking something up with him. That kind of talk matters when it comes to high-stakes global trade!
In brokering new deals, the UK’s negotiating position will be weakest in regards to road vehicles, travel services, and telecoms services. Those former imports from the EU are the biggest ones which need plugging. What can the UK offer Mr. “Men-oo-chin” for these things? Some precious gems and metals, financial services, and machinery.
It’s all ahead of investors. Will midnight strike with fear on Brexit Day, or with greed?