30 January 2020

Brexitshutterstock_417868516.jpgUniversity of South Australia researcher into the effects of European integration on economic and employment relations and governance, Professor Jimmy Donaghey says Australia is likely to see few benefits from the UK exit from the European Union.

As January 31 ticks over with the UK agreement to leave finally passed at home and accepted by the EU, Prof Donaghey is certain the more difficult negotiations and consequences lie ahead.

“Despite how many Prime Ministers fell on the road to BREXIT and the political turmoil for the UK…that was actually the easy part,” Prof Donaghey says.

“The way ahead is fraught and there are probably only three broad scenarios from this final 11-month stretch where the UK must extricate from the EU.

“Britain could agree on very little and ‘crash out’ of the EU with no agreements negotiated. This would mean trade with Europe would come under the World Trade Organisation general member trading agreement with all its contingent tariffs and quotas. This is probably the least likely outcome.

“The second outcome will be to seek an extension to the exit period to give them time to develop a comprehensive agreement with the EU. Delay is something PM, Boris Johnson said he wouldn’t do, but while it would be politically difficult, it is an option. In addition, Johnson has generally a very loose attitude in terms of being constrained by past commitments.

“The messiest possibility but perhaps the most likely, is that, the UK could develop a broad agreement to align to EU regulations with the option to opt out of some laws or rules when they want to and pay contingent penalties for doing so.

“Whatever happens Australia is not set to benefit greatly from Brexit. The geographic distance between the two countries has always been a restriction on trade, but essentially Australia’s biggest export earners, things like coal and iron ore, are not in demand by the UK, while in Education, Australia and the UK are direct competitors. In addition, the size of the Australian market isn’t likely to be a big win for the UK: The UK will still buy Australian wines but there are no big gains in Brexit for Australia.”

Prof Jimmy Donaghey can be contacted by email on jimmy.donaghey@unisa.edu.au

 Media contact: Michèle Nardelli tel: +61 418 823 673 or +61 8 8302 0966 email: michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au

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