Brexit trade talks: a bumpy road or war?

By Rick Pendrous

- Last updated on GMT

Brexit trade talks: a bumpy road or war?

Related tags United kingdom

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, as our French neighbours might say. It’s a quote that could have been made to reflect my comments here: given all the arguments and posturing that have occurred over the past year, what has really changed?

So, what am I talking about? Brexit, of course! A year ago in this column I spoke about ‘boldly going where no man has gone before’ – into the uncertain waters of the UK’s exit from the EU.

If uncertainty was the watchword then, not a lot has changed, I would suggest.

Residency guarantees

We still don’t really know what the final Brexit bill will be, nor precisely how the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic will operate. And as for what the residency guarantees for EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU really mean? Who knows!

We do know – assuming negotiations don’t completely fall apart over the next 14 months – there will be some sort of transition period; a period of stability when businesses and politicians prepare for the final divorce – whatever and whenever that ultimately is.

Or, at least, that is what business is hoping for – anything but a cliff-edge Brexit.

Cliff edge Brexit

We can, no doubt, look forward to a year of claim and counter-claim; political posturing between the Brexiteers and Bremainers; and MPs of all colours jockeying for position in anticipation of the top jobs within their respective parties becoming available.

Former international trade minister and ex-Waitrose boss Mark Price said the trade talks we are about to embark upon would be a bumpy road, although he was optimistic of a successful outcome.

But, it could be more like war. And, as the old adage goes, the first casualty of war is truth.

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