The outcome of the Brexit referendum vote in 2016 created an ambiguous scenario among both internationally-exposed and small domestic businesses. Since then, businesses have intensively analysed the opportunities and threats to arise from this agreement.
‘The Brexit Impact on Business’ was the title of the latest webinar hosted by The Gozo Business Chamber and The Europe Direct Information Centre Gozo in collaboration with Bank of Valletta, and supported by the Ministry for Gozo NGO Assistance Scheme, a funding programme for Voluntary Organisations on the island of Gozo.
Joseph Borg, president of the Gozo Business Chamber, opened the webinar by stating that Brexit is an exhausting situation for all businesses due to its significant impact on the economy. “It’s like taking an important component out of a machine. Brexit is practically removing a critical cog out of the EU machine, thereafter changing the trading dynamics between EU members,” Borg said.
Kenneth Farrugia, chief retail banking officer at Bank of Valletta, recalled how Brexit has dominated both EU and UK politics.
“It’s not just that the UK is losing its greatest trade partner, but the EU is losing the most developed financial centre and the fifth largest economy from all EU member states,” Farrugia noted.
Malta can act as an EU platform for UK financial services businesses
He went on to say that these developments open up opportunities as the UK will be seeking economic partnerships with other regions and Malta ‒ as one of two EU member states that are members of the Commonwealth ‒ should be closely following developments in this regard.
He added that Malta can equally act as an EU platform for UK financial services businesses wishing to passport their financial products and services to the UK. Malta’s highly developed legal and regulatory framework is one of Malta’s important USPs in this regard, Farrugia pointed out.
Leandro Borg, head of policy coordination IMC/EP/External at the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs, elaborated on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) among other coordinated negotiations.
“The Trade and Cooperation Agreement will facilitate digital trade through the elimination of unjustified barriers, and by ensuring an open and secure online environment for businesses and consumers alike, while preserving high standards of security and rigorous data protection,” Borg said.
He also spoke about the EU-UK agreement on security procedures and the agreement between the British government and the European Atomic Energy Community regarding the safe and cooperative uses of nuclear energy.
On his part, Alan Mamo, director, Compliance and Systems Customs Department, said: “Business entrepreneurs need to make deep evaluations from the perspectives of importing and exporting goods and services.
He focused on tariffs and rules of origin in accordance with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
“Among all this uncertainty, one certainty is that zero tariff under the EU-UK TCA will occur solely upon the provision of sufficient evidence of the origin of the commodity.”
Those who missed this webinar and would like to catch up and learn more about the post-Brexit scenario, can follow it on https://youtu.be/StkhobmkcOI.
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