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Eversheds comment: Brexit speech – uncertainty remains for UK business on continued trade with Europe

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    Following Theresa May’s speech giving more details on the shape the UK’s exit from the European Union will take, Ros Kellaway, EU law expert and partner at Eversheds, comments:

    “For those that heard the speech the Prime Minister gave at the last Conservative Party Conference, today’s speech is a welcome elaboration of the ideas that she put on the table on that occasion. It is clear the UK will be leaving the Single Market and will not accept the supremacy of EU law once we leave the EU. There will be no substitute European organisation, such as the EEA, that the UK will be joining post-Brexit.

    “The Prime Minister wants the UK to be able to negotiate its own trade deals with other countries, but at the same time enter into some sort of customs agreement with the EU. According to the Prime Minister, she will be trying to reach an agreement on the UK’s future trading partnership with the EU by the time the two-year Article 50 process has concluded. She has made it clear that she wants a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU allowing for the “freest possible trade in goods and services”, the question is how long that will take to conclude and the terms on which the rest of the EU will actually be willing to enter into such an agreement. May is also seeking a phased process of implementation of the changes resulting from Brexit.

    “For UK businesses, there remains great uncertainty about the basis on which they might continue trading with Europe. But they might take comfort from Mrs May’s emphatic message about the pivotal role she sees the UK playing in global trade.”

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