Trade law expert sees difficult Brexit still ahead

A trade law expert sees Britain’s exit from the European Union as less than smooth.

“It’s going to be a hard Brexit,” said Raj Bhala, the Brennesein Distinguished Professor at the University of Kansas Law School and a Senior Advisor at Denton’s. “This is a global story. Businesses, whether they’re here or they’re in Mumbai, need to be thinking about, what are their terms of trade with respect to the U.K.”

It’s important to know that an exit from the European Union is a harsher one than an exit from an agreement like NAFTA, because the EU is a Common Market.

“There’s free trade among the 28 members of the EU,” said Bhala. “There’s no borders with respect to goods or services and for some of the countries, people as well across the EU. That’s true with NAFTA, as well, but the deeper level of integration that the Common Market has offered the U.K. is that there’s a common external tariff.”

At least one U.S. based company is changing its business model in the EU based upon the impending October 31 event.

“Ford has announced that it is closing plants in the U.K., laying off workers and shifting production elsewhere into the continent, because they can’t pay the 10 percent tariff. It knocks them out of competition with BMW or Mercedes.”

One of the main questions still to be resolved regarding Brexit is the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. How that shakes out could be important to continuing the still tenuous peace between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland even after more than 20 years.