In the short term the immediate impact has been the sharp fall in the value of the Pound, bad news for importers but good news for exporters. Whilst that means there might be short-term losses or gains that can be made for international traders, currencies always fluctuate and will settle down.
The UK has not left the EU yet. The UK Government will now invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to formally notify the EU of its decision to leave, starting a two year negotiation that must end with the UK’s exit unless the other EU member states unanimously agree to extend that period. If no deal is reached then World Trade Organisation rules will kick in to govern the UK’s trading relationship with the EU.
In the medium term much of the existing legislation created by Brussels and incorporated into the law of the United Kingdom will stay in place because it has already become part of our law. The EU treaties that the UK is part of will need to be unpicked and some will continue to bind the UK in some respects and others won’t. In many cases the UK might find that it still needs to agree to abide by the terms of certain treaties to secure lucrative trade deals with the EU. At the same time the UK Government will be opening discussions with countries around the world to negotiate its own trade deals. Previously, the EU negotiated the UK’s trade deals with the rest of the world on its behalf along with the rest of the EU member states. The UK Government will look to agree the removal of certain tariffs that had been imposed by the EU on goods coming into the UK and on goods leaving the UK for the rest of the world.
In the long term, the UK will become independent and the impact on businesses will depend on how well the UK Government does in its negotiations for trade deals with the EU and the rest of the world. The EU and countries around the world will want to make deals with the world’s fifth biggest economy. Businesses are going to need to look at their contracts, particularly those involving international trade and there will be effects on employment laws, immigration and taxation.
For more information and advice on how leaving the EU is going to affect your business please speak to one of our specialist commercial solicitors.