Brexit: The Business Implications

Cooperation amidst uncertainty

Dr. Jean-Philippe Chetcuti | Published on 31 Jan 2017

The Business Implications Of Brexit

The Malta Chamber of Commerce held a seminar for its members addressing the impact of Brexit on businesses. The speakers included the Prime Minister of Malta, Dr Joseph Muscat, Mr Paul Dreschler, the President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), and Mr Stefano Mallia, rapporteur on the Brexit Advisory Group, within the Economic and Social Committee (EESC). 

The discussion revolved around three key points, namely; the cooperative approach of both the EU and the UK in finding a plausible agreement for both sides; the prevailing uncertainty amongst British and local businesses; as well as the complexity of the upcoming negotiations – this, being a first for the European Union.  

Assessing the latest developments

On the future of EU-UK relationship, the Prime Minster reiterated that any deal with the UK would have to be an ‘inferior’ deal to EU membership, although it also has to be a fair deal. Going into the specifics, people and the economy were the two main areas of discussion.  In this regard, Mr Dreschler indicated the UK will be seeking to guarantee the rights of EU citizens working in the UK and vice versa.  On the exit from the Single Market and Customs Union, a sense of uncertainty resonated throughout the discussion in terms of the kind of relationship the UK will seek with the EU. In this respect, in her latest speech Prime Minister Theresa May mentioned a Free Trade Area with the EU with zero tariffs, however this does not seem to be a plausible solution for many.

The over-arching position on the actual Brexit negotiations was that the process will be difficult and highly complex – however a sense of optimism prevailed when Mr Mallia indicated that there is a unified position amongst the EU 27 on the approach to Brexit negotiations, also confirming a sense of goodwill and readiness to collaborate from the EU side - with the aim of striking a deal benefitting all parties. 

Malta for business

In his various interventions, Prime Minister Muscat reiterated Malta’s longstanding relationship with the UK, with Malta also being a Member of the Commonwealth. Citing some of Malta’s economic highlights, the Prime Minister also stated that Malta remains an attractive business jurisdiction, being sought after by businesses and investors worldwide: the economy has been resilient throughout the prevailing uncertainty, registering a 4.1% growth in 2016 and the lowest unemployment levels in the European Union. 



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