On Thursday, October 5, 2017, the Atlantic Council co-hosted a Brexit seminar, in collaboration with the British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia.
Attendees included members of the British, German, Italian and Swedish Chambers of Commerce, the World Trade Center of Delaware, and the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce. The event was sponsored by BABCPHL Club Level member, McConnell Johnson Real Estate. Networking and the panel discussion took place in the Atrium at the iconic Wilmington landmark building – Hercules Plaza.
Andrea Montanino, the C. Boyden Gray Fellow on Global Growth and Finance, and the Director of Global Business & Economics Program at the Atlantic Council focused on the so-called “Grexit” as an important example of how to proceed. Four lessons can be learned from the Greece experience: (1) Brexit is extremely complicated and leaders need to be creative and imaginative to solve the problem; (2) due to the complex nature of the situation, sufficient time is required for a positive outcome; (3) both sides need trust and confidence in the other party; and (4) strong political leadership is key.
Freya Jackson, Counsellor and Head of the Global and Economic Policy Group at the British Embassy described what potential scenarios lay ahead with respect to negotiated trade deals. She commented on the UK’s plan to establish a transition period of implementation after Brexit which would minimize disruption to business during an agreed upon time frame, therefore avoiding a “cliff-edge” scenario. Ms. Jackson stressed the UK’s priorities: “A few things are clear – the UK plans to: (1) take care of their citizens; (2) protect the Belfast Agreement; (3) protect the rights of EU citizens; and (4) budget – the UK is expected to pay their way.”
Howard Kass, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for American Airlines, spoke about how Brexit will impact business, specifically the aviation sector. Mr. Kass made the case for a smooth transition to ensure minimal disruption to supply chains and transport of people and goods. For the airline industry, in which travel plans are made at least one year in advance, separate agreements between the UK and US and the UK and the EU will need to be negotiated to ensure people and goods can continue to fly across borders.