But from our perspective, one key outcome of her speech is the announcement that the UK will seek to replace its current situation with an FTA and not with some sort of association or associate membership status. Many are likely to cheer this news—not least because it brings some clarity after months of uncertainty over objectives. But, frankly, from the perspective of companies operating in or out of the UK, it should be viewed with some alarm. Why? Because it means the UK will have to negotiate the most amazing FTA that has ever been negotiated with a very green, untested team up against one of the very best, most seasoned team of officials with the deepest bench of staff members on the planet.
Even if the EU had been able to create and maintain a common trade position prior to Brexit, the loss/partial loss of the UK within the Union will make it difficult for the EU to continue with business as usual for at least a short period of time. The uncertainties surrounding the departure of the second largest market within the EU means that EU negotiators have to reconsider their own market positions in nearly every single sector.
New Prime Minister Theresa May’s troika of foreign ministers, Liam Fox, David Davis and Boris Johnson all campaigned strongly to Leave and now they must lie in the bed they have made. This Special Edition Talking Trade post explains the options available to the UK and looks at their feasibility.