(NAFB News Service) – U.S. agriculture and other sectors could take a big financial hit if Britain decides this week to exit the European Union.
A yes vote for Brexit in Britain this week could threaten more than a trillion dollars in trade and investment with the United States, according to international financial groups. The U.S. is the single largest investor in Britain, considered a gateway to free trade with the EU’s 28 member nations.
U.S. agriculture is pressing for lower tariffs and an end to GMO and other non-tariff barriers through the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or T-TIP.
American Farm Bureau’s Dave Salmonsen expects those talks with Brussels to continue, but maybe without the benefits of a deal that includes Britain.
“Once they do accomplish if they leave disentangling themselves from the EU world of trade laws and regulations, however long that may take, years or whatever that is, it’s not going to be immediate. They would then have to make deals with other countries.”
He says Britain would have to create its tariff regime and trade regulations and do its own trade deals with the U.S. and other nations, a process that could take years.
However, even in the short-term, Salmonsen says a British exit from the EU could have negative implications for U.S. agriculture.
“We sell almost $2 billion of agriculture and food to Britain each year. They send us about $2.7 billion. Hopefully that would continue in whatever new relationship they have but as part of the EU those numbers would be lower.”
Britain will vote on Brexit Thursday.