»Nach einem harten Brexit könnte der Handel mit Großbritannien um bis zu 50 Prozent einbrechen« | Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik

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»Nach einem harten Brexit könnte der Handel mit Großbritannien um bis zu 50 Prozent einbrechen«

Studie des Instituts der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln, 9.10.2018 (engl. Originalfassung)

Even just a few months before the UK leaves the EU, the effects on bilateral trade relations remain unclear. Companies and citizens on both sides of the Channel are already preparing for the worst case scenario: a hard Brexit. Our analysis considers several hard Brexit sce- narios in which no trade deal is achieved and trade is affected by tariffs and NTBs on both sides. In the short run, Brussels and London can generate tariff revenues of 5.1 and 10.5 billion euro, respectively. The largest tariff burden will be on Britain and Germany and the automotive industry will be most affected. One-fifth of all tariff revenues collected by the UK would be paid by the German automotive industry; the British automotive industry would have to pay one-third of all duties collected by the EU. Additionally, in the short run, NTBs might imply an additional burden of up to 14.6 billion euro for UK companies and up to 25.8 billion euro for EU companies. In the long run, international trade volumes will adjust – in the worst case scenario, trade may be reduced by around 50%.

It follows then that a hard Brexit, especially if it occurs abruptly as a result of a collapse of negotiations, will be associated with considerable costs. This applies in the sense of the above mentioned lose-lose situation for both sides, especially for the United Kingdom and Germany. Due to the strong effects of newly introduced tariffs on trade, the negotiations should not only be aimed at avoiding a hard Brexit but should explicitly seek a customs union. This leaves enough room to maneuver in designing the free trade rules and thus takes into ac- count the Brexiteers’ red lines, which relate to the free movement of labour, rather than to customs duties. In this regard, any transition period should maintain the customs union. In the long run, however, NTBs could be an equally important barrier to trade and need to be pre- vented effectively. All in all, in view of the increasingly urgent preparations and adjustments of companies on both sides, clarity is desperately needed.

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