Tuesday, 20 June 2017 13:52

Brexit bumps

Written by 
Stephen Jacobi. Stephen Jacobi.

The outcome of the British election is not likely to have any major impact on New Zealand’s negotiations for a free trade agreement, says trade expert Stephen Jacobi.

The bigger issue for NZ is how soon the UK can get out of the EU, says Jacobi, a former diplomat, a policy adviser and executive director of the NZ International Business Forum and the NZ China Council.

“Until they have achieved that they are not really in a position for negotiating with NZ. Certainly a lot of preparatory work can be done but no formal negotiations can start.”

A big question mark also hangs over what British policies will be like after they leave the EU.

“They have a certain set of policies in relation to economic matters as a result of their membership of the EU. But how are they going to change those in the future?

“Until all those things are sorted out it is hard to see how we will be able to negotiate an FTA with them.

“So I don’t think the election result has a bearing on that other than it makes it a little more difficult to negotiate a quick exit from the EU.”

That exit will not be easy to negotiate.

“A weakened mandate for the government does not help but they still will be the government provided they get the support from the Northern Ireland party and they can continue to pass things through parliament. If they have a workable majority it shouldn’t make much difference.”

In any event leaving the EU is extremely complicated.

“I find that difficult to believe. I think our negotiation of an FTA with Britain is a long time in the future.”


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