Brexit should lead to a closer relationship between SVG and Britain – Lord Howard
BRITAIN IS scheduled to leave the European Union (EU) on January 31 and according to a British politician, countries like St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) should not worry about any negative impacts.
“You will want to know what difference that event will make and what difference that event will make for you and the answer in the first instance is, not very much to begin with,” said Lord Howard of Lympne on Tuesday.
Lord Howard, also known as Michael Howard, Baron Howard of Lympne, CH, PC, QC, is a British politician who served as Leader of the Conservative Party and Leader of the Opposition from November 2003 to December 2005.
The Brit was speaking at the St Vincent and the Grenadines Chamber of Industry and Commerce’s (SVGCIC) first luncheon for 2020 at Sunset Shores hotel in Villa.
Lord Howard holds the title of Honorary Patron of the British Caribbean Chamber of Commerce and said that not much difference will be felt in the region for 2020 because the rest of the year will be a transition period in which nothing much will change.
“The United Kingdom will continue to be banned by the rules of the European Union including its trade agreements and will not be allowed to activate any trade agreements which it might make during that period with countries in the rest of the world,” said Lord Howard.
He added however that while not much will change during 2020, decisions will be taken which will be of great significance.
He said Britain will negotiate during this period the precise nature of its future relationship with the EU.
“The extent to which they will continue to have access to our markets and we to theirs. The
way in which that access will be made available and the extent to which we will continue to follow their rules,” Lord Howard explained while adding that during 2020, the UK will negotiate trade agreements with other countries.
He added that agreements will be explored with the United States (US), the Caribbean and other parts of the world and this week, a UK/Africa investment summit is being held in Britain.
He said that an economic partnership agreement, signed between the UK and CARIFORUM does not change much with the agreement the EU signed with CARIFORUM.
“That is deliberate… but that is not the end of the matter, that is just the first stage and it’s my open belief…that this new era which in a sense begins in 10 days time, but would fully become operational at the end of this year, will lead to a closer relationship between the United Kingdom and the Caribbean,” Lord Howard told the gathering of business people.
He said links between the UK and the Caribbean are many and include, family ties and education and he wants those links to become deeper although he no longer speaks for the UK.
When the UK leaves the EU, it will bring to an end almost 50 years of membership to that body.