No-Deal Brexit could see UK’s reputation ‘trashed’ – Trade deal ’substantially difficult’

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Face-to-face talks continue this week between the UK and the EU in what is being seen as a crucial week if an agreement is to be reached. No-deal Brexit is looking increasingly likely as differences remain on both sides over fisheries and financial competition once the UK leaves the single market in 2021. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she hoped for a deal between Britain and the Bloc, insisting striking an agreement was “in everyone’s interest”. Ms Merkel also, however, sent a stark warning that time was running out and the 27-member European Union had made clear “we don’t need a deal at any price”.

As it stands, it seems as though No-Deal would be more detrimental to Britain’s interests than it could ever be damaging to Europe.

Assistant Professor in Law Economics and Human Rights at ESCP Business School, Vincent Smith told if Britain were to leave without a deal, its reputation would be “trashed” on the global stage.

Mr Smith warned in particular about the Internal Market Bill, which has been found to break some aspects of international law by overriding the withdrawal agreement reached by the two sides last year.

The Bill has reached its third reading in the House of Lords as final amendments will be made before consideration of the reforms are carried out and the Bill progresses to royal assent.

Mr Smith told “It seems unlikely that ‘no deal’ will impact the UK’s reputation more significantly than the original referendum decision to leave the EU.

“However, the UK’s high international reputation for ‘fair play’ will be substantially negatively impacted – trashed – if the current Government proposal in the Internal Market Bill to break the already-concluded Withdrawal Agreement is carried through.

“It could be substantially more difficult for the UK and UK business to persuade other countries to make Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with us if there is seen to be a possibility that the Government could override an FTA at short notice through an Act of Parliament.”

Mr Smith explained the UK could reach an FTA with Australia as the country doesn’t have a trade agreement with the EU.

He explained: “The UK has already ‘rolled over’ the current free trade arrangements, negotiated by the EU, with South Korea, Japan and Canada, so the terms of trade with those countries will not change on January 1.

“It is likely that an FTA can be reached with Australia – which does not have an FTA with the EU – in very short order.

“In the longer term, there should be a good prospect of FTAs with India – although here the sticking point will be free trade in services and associated free movement of people – and possibly other middle income countries like Turkey and South Africa.”

In the event of no-deal, the Union would begin imposing border checks on British products from January 1, 2021, even if the UK hasn’t changed any of its rules and regulations.

The Government is anticipating huge border queues and a minimum of six-months of persistent delays at ports and the Channel Tunnel.

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France has said it plans to immediately implement post-Brexit border controls in the event of no-deal, while the UK Government estimates between 50 to 85 percent of lorry drivers don’t have the necessary documentation to enter the EU via France.

HMRC predicts British businesses will fork out an addition £15billion a year on paperwork in the event a deal isn’t done, reports the Financial Times.

If the UK fails to strike a deal in the coming days, the biggest impact will be felt domestically and in the short term.

Mr Smith said: “For example, the European Union accounts for an estimated one-third of all the food consumed in the UK, so any delays at the Channel will lead to price hikes.”

The impact of ‘no deal’ will be felt “most acutely” in the agricultural and fishing industries and in financial sectors, according to Mr Smith.

He added: “It seems that most financial services will not be covered by the current free trade proposal, so for bankers the impact of no deal over the current proposals may not be that great.”

Mr Smith said, however, that it’s not all doom and gloom as a no-deal Brexit doesn’t have to be a permanent fixture.

The Assistant Professor concluded: “Of course, it is quite possible that, even if there is no free trade agreement with the EU for January 1, further negotiations over the following months might lead to some form of agreement to come into effect later.

“‘No deal’ in January doesn’t mean ‘no deal’ forever.”

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