British Consul General discusses Brexit
On February 21 Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford, the British Consul General in Atlanta, discussed the British government’s approach to the up-coming negotiations surrounding Brexit. He said that the British government, in the light of the June referendum, had identified three priories: regaining full control over immigration; not contributing to the EU budget; and not being subject to EU law. Each of those three positions implied that the UK would have to leave the single market. An European Economic Area-type arrangement would not be acceptable. Given that, the British government, recognizing the economic importance of the EU’s market, wants a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement, which the Consul General characterized as “CETA plus plus,” referring to the EU’s recent Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada. The British government does not anticipate that UK-based financial firms will be able to operate throughout the EU as they do now, under the EU’s passporting arrangements. However, the Consul General argued that passporting is less important in wholesale financial services, such as initial public offerings, which accounts for most of the UK’s financial services trade. He noted that the automobile and aerospace sectors are particularly integrated in the single market through transnational value chains. The UK government hopes that there will be no tariff in these sectors and that customs formalities can be made as unobtrusive as possible. The Consul General indicated that the UK also wants to maintain close cooperation with the EU with respect to combatting terrorism and organized crime through intelligence sharing and the European Arrest Warrant. The British government would also like to continue to work with the EU on post-conflict stabilization. The Consul General stressed that the British government wishes to maintain the Common Travel Area with Ireland and to do everything possible to prevent the reintroduction of a physical border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.