Trade Briefs

Has the Brexit Process entered a new Phase?

Has the Brexit Process entered a new Phase?

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Has the Brexit Process entered a new Phase? (File size: B)

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26 Sep 2017

Author(s): Gerhard Erasmus

The British Prime Minister has delivered two major speeches this year on how her government wants to negotiate its exit from the European Union (EU) and what the post-Brexit deal should contain. On 17 January 2017, she delivered her Lancaster House speech and outlined her government’s 12 Point Plan for the Brexit process. On Friday 22 September 2017, she announced her new vision in a speech in the Italian city of Florence to an audience made up largely of journalists.

Key aspects of what must be agreed remain outstanding and a comprehensive picture is unlikely to emerge soon. This state of affairs has implications for future trade relations with third parties; including the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). Brussels’ views on how the SADC-EPA will be affected, are not yet known.

UK trade officials have visited several non-EU countries to explain London’s views on post Brexit international trade. In July 2017 Lord Price, the then Trade Policy Minister, visited SACU, although he has since resigned. At that occasion it was indicated that London foresees a bilateral arrangement in the form of national legislation providing for the “rolling over” by the concerned parties of the trade benefits contained in the SADC-EU EPA. New trade agreements will not be negotiated till several years after Brexit.

This Trade Brief looks at the speech delivered in Florence. Where does the Brexit process now stand? It begins with a reminder of what the Prime Minister had said in January this year. The conclusion offers ideas about some of the implications and the difficulties ahead.


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