Brexit could be “potentially catastrophic,” for the Falklands according to a recent UK newspaper article. And by all accounts it could have a serious impact if heavy tariffs were applied to goods exported from the Islands into the EU. But just how bad could it be?
Falkland Islands fishing companies may have attended the Brussels Seafood Show intermittently for over a decade, but the looming specter of Brexit lent this year’s attendance unprecedented significance. For James Bates, Falkland Islands Fishing Companies Association (FIFCA) Executive Secretary, Brexit gave the industry’s stand at the show a clear mandate this year, “it was about being visible at a time when we need to be.”
“The UK has sold out Falklands fishing for a Brexit era deal,” fishing company Fortuna Ltd Director James Wallace told Penguin News this week. He was replying to much general speculation as to why a Falkland Islands company with a long history of participation in the South Georgia toothfish fishery was refused licenses this season.
By Mike Gapes (*) For the future security and stability of our country, our continent and the world this is the worst possible moment for the UK to be leaving the European Union. Unfortunately, we are planning to leave our European partners at a time when there is going to be less and less agreement amongst the most important countries about how to deal with current and emerging global problems.
Concerns about tariffs on Falklands exports post Brexit, and political consequences were outlined by a Falklands' representative giving evidence to a House of Lords committee (the European Union Select Committee) last Tuesday.
Brexit will “undoubtedly” harm the UK’s ability to work with other EU countries on foreign issues and its influence in the world, warns former Conservative foreign affairs minister William Hague, including protection of the Falkland Islands, and ensuring solidarity among 28 countries.
British Overseas Territories representatives, including from the Falkland Islands held a two-day meeting in London to address Brexit implications such as development funds, tariff free fish exports and the right to travel freely through the European Union. The meeting was in the framework of Prime Minister Theresa May's administration initiative to involve all parts of the UK in preparing for the crucial negotiations.
The United Kingdom's intention to leave the single market as outlined in Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit speech on Tuesday has generated some concerns for the Falkland Islands Government, but a Member of the Legislative Assembly indicated this week they are still confident all will be well for the Islands under post- 2019 arrangements.