By Alexander Russ, AEM Director, International and Regulatory Affairs
The recent “Brexit” vote in the United Kingdom – in which the U.K. voted to exit the European Union – showed just how quickly developments abroad can shake the global economy and affect manufacturing here in the United States.
After the Brexit vote, global markets plummeted and so did the British pound – a development with broad implications for everyone from pensioners in the U.K. to the political order in the rest of Europe. The key question is, after 43 years together, will the U.K. and the EU suffer a messy breakup or can they remain friends?
Emotions are already running high. Members of the European Parliament gave British officials a chilly reception in Brussels following the Brexit vote. And European heads of state are at odds over how to shape the EU’s future relationship with the U.K. In the months ahead, leadership battles within the U.K.’s two largest political parties will offer indications of where the breakup is headed.
On this side of the pond, it’s important to maintain caution. Maybe more than anything, manufacturers need a return to market stability. That includes a successful resolution of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and a resolution of how the United Kingdom trades with the rest of Europe, as well as the United States.
After all, the benefits of trade and access to the EU’s single market could be the biggest factor in re-establishing trust between the U.K. and the EU. Negotiating a complex and unprecedented unraveling of laws will at times get heated, but neither party can lose sight of the broader importance of maintaining a healthy relationship.