Brexit has no immediate trade impact: Lomas

29 Jul 2016 14:40pm
WINDHOEK, 29 JUL (NAMPA) – The British High Commissioner to Namibia has said the United Kingdom's decision to exit the European Union (EU) will not have an immediate impact on trade relations with Namibia.
Jo Lomas said nothing immediate will change and the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) will continue including the UK until the day they leave the EU.
Lomas said this while presenting a paper on the Commonwealth during the Namibia Foreign Policy Review conference in the capital on Wednesday.
“I cannot give you an exact answer now as to what a future trade deal will look like. What I can say is that the UK is a long-term supporter of open and fair trade.”
Namibia exports beef to the EU and the UK is one of the entry points for meat distribution.
The High Commissioner noted that as the UK leaves the EU, their membership of other international organisations will become more important to them, such as the Group of seven (G7), G20, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), United Nations (UN) Security Council and the Commonwealth.
She said her government is determined to use this opportunity to strengthen links with and within the Commonwealth, and to ensure they all genuinely benefit from being members of Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth, of which Namibia is a member, is a voluntary association that provides guidance on policy making, technical assistance and advisory services to member countries. The group also supports governments to help achieve sustainable, inclusive and equitable development.
About 53 countries are members of the Commonwealth, of which 18 are African; eight from Asia; 12 from Caribbean; three from Europe; one from North America and 11 Pacific.
The High Commissioner noted that the UK government is clear on Brexit and institutions are now being set up to negotiate the way out of the EU, as well as to enter into a variety of bilateral and regional trade deals.
‘Brexit’, a term coined from ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’, dates back to 2013 when the UK’s Conservative government pledged to hold a referendum on Britain’s EU membership before the end of 2017.
Motivation for UK to leave the EU evolves around matters of regional integration such as border control and trade. Being a member of the EU means citizens from any member state can settle and work in another member state without a visa or permit and with a relaxed EU policy on asylum, some Britons are of the opinion that they are losing jobs to migrants, while the social grant system is milked to the core.
Concerning trade, being an EU member means paying a large lump sum for regional block membership, while abiding to trade agreements with other large global players like the United States of America that is allowed to export goods into the EU without much regulations.
Lomas stressed that the UK will remain a prosperous, stable and attractive country for investment, despite their decision to exit the EU.
“We are currently the fifth major performing economy and world’s largest hub for financial services and we are determined to maintain that,” she said, adding the UK is not expecting exit negotiations to commence before the end of this year.