Brexit | Ian Dunt

Summary of: Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now?: A Quick Guide to Britain’s Biggest Issue
By: Ian Dunt


In Ian Dunt’s eye-opening read, ‘Brexit: What the Hell Happens Now?’, readers will gain a clearer understanding of Britain’s ongoing struggle to find a new relationship with the European Union. Dunt examines various European countries’ arrangements with the EU, such as Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, and Canada, to clarify whether their models could be possible templates for Britain. The book also highlights the possible consequences of Brexit on Britain’s financial services sector, the potential winners and losers within the country, and how the negotiations will affect both the UK and the EU. Through this summary, readers will gain a deeper insight into the complex and highly unpredictable nature of Brexit.

Exploring Post-Brexit Trade Options

The article discusses various post-Brexit trade models such as EEA, Switzerland, Turkey, and Canada. The article also sheds light on the political, legal, and trade implications of these models. The Norway model cedes sovereignty to the EU, whereas Switzerland’s agreement is a stalemate. Turkey’s membership in the European Customs Union may not be suitable for the UK due to its limits on free movement of goods, capital, services, or people. Canada’s free trade deal may not be ideal for the UK’s financial sector as it focuses heavily on traded goods. Ultimately, the article argues that Brexit was a blank canvas that allowed people to project their hopes, aspirations, and frustrations onto it, and the UK may have a challenging time trading with the world if they leave the EU.

Brexit and London’s Financial Industry

The City of London’s financial industry is a major concern in negotiations surrounding Brexit. Without favorable regulations and laws, London’s advantage of attracting banking business from European and non-European countries is at risk, threatening the UK’s position as a gateway to the EU. American investment banks currently maintain most of their European personnel in the UK. Any loss in business could amount to billions in lost revenue and increase competition from other European cities. The sector’s importance calls for careful consideration in Brexit negotiations.

Preparing for Brexit

Implementing Brexit requires an extensive amount of preparation, negotiation and renegotiation. It involves complex legal, trade and commerce negotiations, all intertwined and involving different interests. Britain has to develop teams of trade experts, analysts, diplomats and negotiators from scratch. Unfortunately, the British team going into Article 50 comprises of inexperienced individuals who lack trade expertise in the field. Britain must try to be able to reach agreements with the EU and the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the same time, so their bilateral trade deals are put on hold. Britain’s proposed approach in handling the entanglement of British and EU law and regulation is known as the “Great Repeal Bill,” copying much of the existing EU law now governing the UK into British law.

WTO and Brexit Negotiations

Brexit supporters claimed that the World Trade Organization (WTO) would act as a ‘safety net’ after leaving the EU. However, this argument lacks understanding of how WTO mechanisms work. WTO’s ‘most favored nation’ rule means that all WTO members must be treated equally, making it impossible for the UK to make concessions to the EU without doing so for all WTO countries. This makes successful negotiations with the EU vital, and completing negotiations with the WTO could prove more complex than with the EU. While the UK should benefit from goodwill as a pro-free trade nation that helped start the organization, trade negotiations prioritize individual interests, and vulnerability is exploited.

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