Companies urged to get ready for post-Brexit, analyst deems EU-UK deal victory for EU

Ljubljana – Barbara Uranjek, director of the British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce, has welcomed an agreement on future relations between the UK and EU. She urged companies to prepare in time for coming Brexit-related changes. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry sees the deal as a pleasant surprise and analyst Peter Verovšek considers it a win for the EU.

The EU-UK trade agreement is “good news for companies on both sides that will enable them to plan for the future in a more predictable way as well as provide opportunities for new partnerships”, Uranjek told the STA on Thursday evening.

“Signing the deal does not change the fact that trade rules between the UK and EU will change as of 1 January, most notably regarding cross-border transport of goods,” she said.

The chamber thus advises companies to visit gov.uk/eubusiness to find out what will change for them next year and to get ready for the changes.

Uranjek added that the deal “confirms trust that the future bilateral trade relations could eventually continue to develop and get strengthened as well as they did before”.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS) also welcomed the agreement yesterday, with its chief economist Bojan Ivanc describing it as a pleasant surprise.

Financial markets have responded well to the developments, he told the STA, adding that even though details of the deal were yet to be reviewed, the agreement would improve economic forecasts in coming months.

The deal is to strengthen trust among companies, particularly in France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands where economic ties with the UK are particularly strong.

Ivanc highlighted the deal included a mostly tariff-free trade exchange as was the case so far. What is also promising is a planned joint platform for both sides to exchange data on organised crime, energy and other databases, he said.

The GZS had seen a 50% chance to reach the deal. Ivanc noted that the second Covid-19 wave had likely helped negotiate the agreement.

Both sides still have to ratify the agreement by 1 January 2021. The GZS thinks they will succeed at that, however the organisation believes there could be small political risk on the side of the EU in the process.

Meanwhile, analyst Peter Verovšek told the STA yesterday that the deal meant a victory for the EU.

Verovšek, assistant professor in politics and international relations at the University of Sheffield, said that the UK had secured mainly a symbolic victory.

“From the perspective of economic relations, including regulations, the EU has won without doubt,” he said, adding that the EU had had a stronger bargaining position from the get-go.

The deal enables the EU to retain all the trade advantages it already had before in its relations with the UK, whereas Brexit or a symbolic victory, as seen by Verovšek, will cost the UK a lot.

“That was the EU’s primary target in the negotiations. And the bloc has achieved that,” he said, referring to the EU’s mission to preserve the role of EU membership.

The UK will pay the price of some 10% of its annual GDP and economic growth, he added.

Verovšek does not expect any problems in ratifying the agreement. The deal could pave the way for a return of British politician Nigel Farage, a prominent Brexit advocate, who will probably say the deal is not good enough for the UK, the analyst said.

When it comes to the Scotland and Northern Ireland situations, the first country is now a step closer to its independence, a goal that is likely still far away, whereas the latter could inch closer to joining with the Republic of Ireland in the wake of the deal, Verovšek said.