What’s going on here?
The UK and Switzerland's relationship continues to blossom as the trade continuity agreement between the two has been recently ratified.
What does this mean?
A little respite in a problematic political landscape, the deal was agreed on last December but was only ratified (meaning it was officially signed) in February 2019.
This essentially means that after Brexit (...whenever that happens), the UK and Switzerland will continue to trade as normal. This is regardless of whether Theresa May's Withdrawal Agreement gets through Parliament, or if there is a no-deal situation. International Trade Secretary Liam Fox (the government minister responsible for negotiating trade agreements with other countries) says that the emphasis is on “continuity” of the “preferential trade” enjoyed between the two countries. By ratifying the deal, it provides some security to the UK as it ensures trading will not completely cease, post-Brexit.
What’s the big picture effect?
This agreement has wide-ranging effects for the political landscape but also from a commercial point of view. Businesses that are based in Switzerland will experience a boost in confidence as a result of this trade deal. Similarly, UK businesses that operate in Switzerland will also be happy with it. It is hoped that the deal will help to support jobs throughout the UK and ensure that the 15,000 British exporters who trade in Switzerland suffer as little disruption as possible.
This will be particularly relevant to law firms who have clients engaging in EU-wide trade. However, even though the trade deal sets out “continuity”, there remains some ambiguity as to whether this means that things will be exactly the same as before, or whether there are new technicalities to be considered. Also, while the deal looks like good news, it must be noted that this is only one trade deal. The UK is still working on finalising new agreements with other nations before Brexit, but there’s still a long way to go to replicate EU-style trading.
Report written by Grace E.
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