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Few lifelines before Brexit

Businesses are facing up to the possibility of the U.K. leaving the EU without a final deal in hand
The moment when Britain would officially exit the European Union (EU) is still some months away — 11 p.m. local time on March 29, 2019 — but the tremors are being felt even now. The source of the foreshocks are the unstable machinations of the British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit ‘war cabinet’. As the clock ticks without a breakthrough so far in the talks, anxiety is palpable among the business community and the general public. Without a clear plan to counter the unsociable environment being created by an increasingly unempathetic EU, Ms. May’s assurances as yet have not been productive. Her team’s negotiating skills are being continuously weakened by hardliners within the union. The U.K.’s pride has been dealt a few knocks on successive occasions at the negotiating table. It has also been reaching out desperately to the Commonwealth and the rest of the world for a deal before Brexit happens which could overcome the exit loss. This is a humongous task as some of the countries outside the bloc, including the U.S., have opposed Britain leaving the EU. Even India has said that it is ‘in no rush to sign a deal’ with the U.K. after Brexit. ‘Open Britain’, an anti-Brexit think-tank, has said that an India-U.K. free trade agreement “would easily take seven years”. The trade terms that Britain set for the Commonwealth, post-war and post-independence, are not simply there now because some of them are almost ready to supersede the U.K. economically. There are also fears that the U.K. might end up leaving without a final deal in hand. There are whispers from Ms. May’s Brexit camp that she might agree to an extension beyond 2020 in order to assist Britain in establishing transitional arrangements to ensure a hold in the single market as well as the customs union. In an article in The Guardian , businessman, independent crossbench life peer and anti-Brexiteer Karan Bilimoria has stated that Indian-run businesses would suffer phenomenally with or without a deal. Tejinder Singh Shekawat, a construction entrepreneur and president of the Indian Chamber of Youth Entrepreneurs attached to the India High Commission in London, says, “The current status is that the Europeans have already started leaving. As a result, the rental and property prices have come down, whereas labour and material prices have gone up by 25%. Almost every business is struggling even before the Brexit happened.” A large portion of Indian businesses in the U.K. are dependent on the free European market. They are watching the developments with bated breath.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/few-lifelines-before-brexit/article25355690.ece

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