Exporting in 2019 – Will Brexit Make Things More Difficult?
Brexit negotiations have begun and it’s a tense time for industry and government alike as it sets to introduce elements of uncertainty that both the UK and EU are understandably unprepared for. The only certainty is the uncertainty.
For the UK at least, Exports are an important part of an economy and accounts for a tremendous share of the nation’s GDP. Whilst the UK itself is a net importer of goods, its exports are still significant on the world stage and as such the impact of Brexit needs close analysis. This article aims to offer a taste of this.
The Single Market and EU Customs Union
One of the key political goals of the EU has been to encourage deepening economic and political integration. A practical manifestation of this the single market and customs union.
Being able to trade with other EU nations with little to no bureaucracy is the key advantage to being part of the single market. The customs union facilitates ease of movement between trading partners. Both of these advantages are firmly in the crosshairs post-Brexit and will likely be a key negotiating point for both sides. The EU will aim to ensure the UK has to pay a heavy price for access to the single market whereas the UK will insist the market is in part a product of its commercial success during its time in the union.
Without access to the single market and customs union, exporting to the EU will undoubtedly become more difficult. What isn’t certain is how difficult this will become. The UK is a strong economic force and it would be unwise both politically and economically for European governments to make it difficult for its businesses to trade with the UK.
One thing that European leaders on both sides of the English channel have to acknowledge is that whether the UK is or is not a part of the EU, it will remain a significant trading partner. Both sides will aim to further their own position, but a one-sided outcome would in the long-run be detrimental to both sides.
In short, UK exports to the EU will become more difficult. But the relationship at the end of Brexit negotiations must be satisfactory to importers inside the EU to ensure domestic governments serve the interests of domestic businesses. This in a sense, creates a potentially self-limiting problem.