Magazine article Public Finance

Exit Deal Will Be 'Horribly Complex'

Magazine article Public Finance

Exit Deal Will Be 'Horribly Complex'

Article excerpt

Brexit will not be an "apocalypse" but it will be unavoidably "complex and costly", the former director of the World Trade Organization has said.

Pascal Lamy, who headed the WTO from 2005 to 2013, discussed the UK's exit from the EU at the Institute for Government on 16 March.

He said the suggestion made by some Brexiteers that leaving the EU could result in savings was misguided.

"In trade terms - just to take this example - there is no way switching from the internal market to any other regime, [won't] be costly.

"If you need a passport for your goods, you need a person to rubber stamp that passport - this has a cost."

He stressed that even the "greatest" deal - in his view, the most "open, effi cient, pragmatic" - would be "horribly complex" and have fi nancial implications for the UK.

As a "no brainer" for both sides, he predicted that securing a new free trade agreement would be a relatively simple part of the process.

However, it would still take fi ve to six years to hammer out a comprehensive deal even in this area, Lamy predicted, lending his voice to doubts that the entire process could be completed within just two.

This strict time frame is stipulated in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which sets out the formal process for leaving the EU. …

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