President Trump has risked starting a trade war by deciding to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. However, any tax or tariff imposed on U.S. firms would be a logistical and political challenge. "Carbon tariffs are a great idea in the classroom... [but] it's harder to translate into practical policy," said Gregor Irwin, chief economist at strategic advisory firm Global Counsel.
British politician and business figure Paul Myners has faced many challenges in a glittering career, but the ones posed by Brexit and the Trump presidency are proving more testing than most.
He believes Global Counsel, a consulting firm on policy and regulatory risks, will do more to help companies and investors navigate the choppy waters of populist politics across the world. Many people in the region - which Global Counsel serves out of its Singapore office - are trying to make sense of what has occurred in Britain, long a favoured destination to live, study, work and invest.
The UK and EU both want to retain a "soft" border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland by retaining the Common Travel Area agreement.
But controls will be required, according to Stephen Adams, a trade policy expert and consultant for advisory firm Global Counsel. “If you’re leaving the customs union, if you’re leaving the external tariff of the EU, if you’re leaving the free movement zone for goods, all of which the UK plans to do, you have no choice but to have a hard border of some kind. You can’t pretend that line will not be there,” he told The Reg.
The UK is holding a snap general election in June, one which is shaping up to be all about Brexit. UK Prime Minister Theresa May said an early election was the only way to guarantee political stability as Britain negotiates its way out of the European Union.
Gregor Irwin, chief economist at Global Counsel - which advises corporations around the world on political risk - tells us why policy uncertainty is likely to hang over investment decisions in the UK.
In an unexpected U-turn, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has proposed and won approval to hold a snap general election that could have significant implications for the country’s Brexit negotiating position.
“There are unlikely to be any implications for trade. While Brexit is a central issue, trade policy will be a more marginal issue, although there may be some questions about environmental and other standards in future trade agreements,” chief economist at advisory group Global Counsel, Gregor Irwin, tells GTR.
Many big companies have been scarred by the experience of lobbying publicly for Britain to remain in the EU. Having lost that battle, some are keeping a much lower profile when it comes to the terms of Britain’s departure.
“Business and civil society are largely in retreat because they were so strongly aligned with the Remain campaign,” said Tom White, an adviser at Global Counsel, which counts amongst its clients Centrica, Santander and Ford. He said companies “are keeping their heads down.”
Following the vote to leave the EU, many in the energy sector had assumed they would remain far from the Brexit frontline.
And while the economic logic of maintaining and even increasing current physical interconnections in both gas and powermarkets is strong, political developments are now perhaps giving the sector pause for thought.
Gregor Irwin, chief economist at Global Counsel, suggests the U.K. might even flesh out its thinking on matters the EU wants to discuss early on, such as citizens’ rights and the estimated £50 billion exit bill.
“No-one is expecting the U.K. to make an offer, but acknowledging this issue and setting out a framework for approaching it is an essential first step in the negotiation, which would be seen as constructive by the EU,” he said. “It could acknowledge that the U.K. has certain obligations, while remaining silent about or rejecting others.”
The mantra within the British government as it prepares to hammer out the terms of its break-up with the European Union is that no deal is better than a bad deal.
"The EU recognizes it has huge leverage and is ready to use it,” said Gregor Irwin, chief economist at Global Counsel, a consulting firm. "There is a risk of the negotiations unraveling because you’re never quite sure how much it all means to the other side. If you push too far and it turns out they weren’t bluffing you end up with no deal."
Stephen Adams of the Global Counsel advisory group said the problem with Article 50 “is not that it is complicated but that it is relatively simple”. “It provides limited guidance and leaves a lot to political interpretation. It also starts a ticking clock and that is what makes it so different,” he said. “You are working against time. And time in this case is everybody’s enemy, including the EU, because two years is not long to get an agreement of this kind.”