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Brexit and the Fish Market – Why Do They Matter?

We’ve all heard that the UK or, at least England, must exit the European Union this year. However, what was established officially in March was postponed until April, then May, with the latest estimated date being somewhere at the end of October. And, given the complexity of the problem, it comes as no surprise that England is taking as much time as possible to find the least damaging solution for its trade and economy all together.

Ever since the UK voted for Brexit, the dynamics of international trade have changed. And, given that England will exit the European Union one way or another, the dynamics will continue to change and affect both this country and its most trusted partners.

The UK’s main trade partner is the European Union, even though the United States of America is also an important partner. In 2016, before Brexit was considered a viable option, exports from the UK to the USA counted for nearly 100 billion pounds. As for the United States, the UK counts as the seventh most important trade partner in the imports area and is the fifth biggest exporter.

The economy of the UK is based on both goods and services, with the fish market only counting for around 0.1% of the total GDP. It does provide around 26,000 jobs and total revenues exceeding 1.4 billion pounds annually but there are other things that you should consider when it comes to this market.

Understanding geography

The UK counts, amongst others, for the territories of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Out of these countries, only England and Wales (with little over 52% of the votes) agreed to exit the European Union, while Northern Ireland and Scotland will probably remain members of the EU.

The problem is that 53% of the entire UK fish industry is handled in the Scottish waters, which will definitely impact the sector once England leaves the EU, given the fact that only Scottish and North Irish fishing boats will be allowed in the territorial waters without having to pay taxes.

Understanding the economy

Apart from the obvious changes in dynamics, Brexit mainly implies renegotiating all tariffs and trades with Britain’s largest trade partner, the EU. In other words, this means reapplying VAT, increasing taxes, and, overall, agreeing to a more complicated trade relationship governed by more laws and increased bureaucracy.

Why does it matter?

Ever since he was elected, President Trump included in his agenda one-on-one meetings with the UK’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, in order to deepen the economic relationship between the two territories.

Currently, as a single partner, the United States is the largest export market for products and services from the UK, including the ones coming from the fish sector. With England most likely exiting the Union somewhere in the near future, it offers two big chances for the US to involve itself even more in the trade sector of England and the remaining EU territories.

In other words, the United States has now the chance to expand its influence in England and renegotiate tariffs, prices, and other taxes that can increase the country’s revenues. On the other hand, the remaining territories, Scotland and Northern Ireland, will most likely continue the Union’s single trade policy, which is already convenient for the Americans.

As for the fish market, England’s preferences include cod and haddock, out of which only about 5% comes from the local production, whereas the rest is imported from other countries, including the United States.

As we previously stated, taken as a whole, the fish industry might not be the biggest one in any of these countries, but with England leaving the EU, new opportunities for commerce arrive for both territories, even when it comes to affordable choices for fishing gear and gizmos, rods, reels, baits, and the actual fish species caught.

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