Post-Brexit trade agreements will not come along so quickly for Britain. But the country is slowly getting prepared for its post-Brexit trading relationships, including with the US. According to Gregor Irwin, chief economist at the consultancy Global Counsel in London, “there is a sovereignty problem” in this relationship. “The big prize in any UK-US trade deal is not tariff reduction, as with a few notable exceptions, tariffs are mostly small already. The big prize comes from removing regulatory barriers to trade. But this means conceding some sovereignty over regulation.
President Trump drew laughs Thursday when he said he would have to hammer out a trade deal himself with British Prime Minister Theresa May. But Britain is still part of the European Union, and it'll be a couple of years before it's officially completed the Brexit process and can legally make its own trade deals.
"The U.K. may choose to ignore that, but it means further souring the relationship with Brussels just as the Brexit negotiations are starting," Gregor Irwin, chief economist at the strategic advisory firm Global Counsel, has told CNNMoney.
The European Union has made adjustments to its landmark Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and moved one step closer to sealing the deal, while protectionism and inward policy prevails across the Atlantic in the US.
“Full ratification will take some time longer. I don’t get the sense that the commission wants to rush that just yet but they do want to demonstrate that they are making progress on trade policy at a time when the Trump administration is being very protectionist,” says chief economist at Global Counsel, Gregor Irwin to GTR.
The UK Supreme Court has ruled that an act of parliament must be passed before the UK government can withdraw from the European Union. The move adds a further process to the Brexit plight and throws more uncertainty into the picture for businesses.
“Passing this bill in the House of Commons should be relatively straight forward. It’s not yet clear how much difficulty the government will have passing the bill in the House of Lords,” chief economist at Global Counsel, Gregor Irwin tells GTR.
The new U.S. administration has promised to put the U.K. at the front of the queue for a trade deal.
"A trade agreement with the U.K. is unlikely to be a priority for the new U.S. administration, no matter what is said at the Trump-May press conference," said Gregor Irwin, chief economist at the strategic advisory firm, Global Counsel. "Domestic priorities and campaign promises will always come first."
U.K. officials are preparing to fire the starting gun on trade negotiations with countries outside the European Union within months, defying warnings from the bloc that such action would be illegal.
“EU rules mean the U.K. cannot legally begin negotiating a trade deal with the US before the U.K. leaves the EU,” said Gregor Irwin, chief economist at Global Counsel in London. Defying the EU would risk “further souring the relationship with Brussels just as the Brexit negotiations are starting,” he said.
Prime minister Theresa May announced a “bold and ambitious” trade plan for the UK this week as she finally outlined the country’s strategy for exiting the European Union.
“I don’t think anything about the policy substance was particularly surprising. In many ways we’ve been wondering why we haven’t heard it before now,” chief economist at advisory firm Global Counsel, Gregor Irwin, tells GTR.
May says she wants the "freest possible trade in goods and services" between the two, but EU leaders have made it clear that Brexit Britain can't have the same access to markets it enjoyed as an EU member.
"Even if her negotiators do an extremely good job... there are going to be more barriers to trade," said Gregor Irwin, chief economist at the strategic advisory firm, Global Counsel.
Prime Minister Theresa May is coming under increasing pressure from lawmakers to provide more details on her vision for Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Stephen Adams, a partner at consultancy Global Counsel, said Mrs. May has been giving herself room to maneuver. “I don’t think that it’s very productive to try and read between the prime minister’s lines, partly because there’s so few of them, and there’s a risk of finding something there that isn’t there,” he said.
Change Britain’s report Tuesday that the U.K. will gain £450 million each week and generate 400,00 new jobs if it leaves the single market and customs union came under immediate fire.
Simon Tilford of the Center for European Reform called the pressure group’s research “misleading and dishonest,” while Gregor Irwin of Global Counsel labelled it “flawed and incomplete.” Irwin said the research ignored the £1.4 billion paid to non-public sector organizations such as universities and the £0.8 billion of payments to the EU for development.