The Prime Minister has given the clearest outline yet of what the UK’s exit from the EU will look like, and what she wants for the future, ‘a truly Global Britain – the best friend and neighbour to our European partners, but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe too’.
She made clear that the UK will be leaving the Single Market, seeking a bespoke free trade agreement with the ‘freest possible trade in goods and services’, and a new customs agreement that leaves the UK free to negotiate its own trade deals with third countries.
The UK will take back its law making powers, though existing EU laws will continue to apply at least initially. And the UK will take back control of immigration. Theresa May wants to reach agreement on the UK’s future trading partnership with the EU by the time the two-year Article 50 process has ended, after which she wants a ‘smooth and orderly Brexit’.
It's an ambitious plan, promising benefits for UK businesses and consumers alike. However, there are doubts as to whether Theresa May will obtain all the items on her wish-list, and query how long this will all take. UK businesses may take some comfort from her clear message that the UK will remain open for business, though those that rely on EU free trade should continue to consider their own Brexit plan.
The Prime Minister’s speech focused on building a “Global Britain” and a “great, global, trading nation”. If the UK Government succeeds in obtaining free trade in goods and services with the EU through a comprehensive free trade agreement, as well as extensive free trade agreements with countries around the globe, this will result in significant benefits for UK businesses and customers alike. Trade deals do not, however, happen overnight...Therefore, businesses that have supply chains or that provide services between the UK and the EU, or that currently rely on the EU’s existing free trade agreements with other countries for their supply chains should consider their own Brexit plan and the potential cost implications of Brexit on their business.