The UK's 40+ years of EU membership requires not only a new relationship for the future, but revisiting those from the past. As an EU member state, the UK takes advantage of 236 international relationships that have been negotiated by the EU on its behalf.
If, as has been reported, the UK has not been able to put in place individual arrangements in more than 14 cases, business will be concerned as to what a "no deal" exit could mean on 29 March 2019 in terms of maintaining the status quo. An example of this is the negotiation for the UK to join the World Trade Organisation Government Procurement Agreement (GPA), where it is reported that many current members are seeking to use the application as an opportunity to renegotiate trade terms.
There is an inherent complexity in detaching free trade agreements between the EU and countries such as Canada. As we have noted in our Brexit Resilience report - this could lead to inevitable supply-chain disruption and so underlines the need for business to put their contingency plans into action now.
“Other countries may see Brexit as an opportunity to reopen these [treaties], to get more out of the UK, rather than just roll over the existing agreements,”