UK EU Referendum Vote
Friday 24 June 06:59
Like many islanders, business leaders and politicians, the Jersey Chamber of Commerce has closely followed the UK’s EU referendum journey over the last few months.
There’s no doubt, businesses in Jersey have already been affected by the period of uncertainty caused by the referendum. Chamber members locally reported a cautious trading environment, with decisions and deals delayed until after the referendum. Now the UK has voted to leave the European Union, Jersey must prepare itself for a further period of uncertainty.
On the 28th June 2016, when we expect the UK Prime Minister will be officially asked to confirm the UK’s intention to leave the European Union, this will trigger a two year withdrawal period during which Jersey and the Channel Islands’ formal relationship with the EU, known as ‘Protocol 3’ of the UK’s 1972 Accession Treaty, will remain in place, but this will eventually fall away in 2018, after the UK exits the EU.
For that two year period, the UK will enter into a period of withdrawal from the EU. Negotiating new trade deals, access to EU markets, migration policies and the movement of its citizens within the EU zone.
Whilst Jersey remains a Crown Dependency of the UK, it is unclear how the Channel Islands will feature in the UK’s negotiations, with the remaining 27 EU Member States. It is fair to say there are already concerns that Jersey could find itself at the back of the negotiation queues.
President of the Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Kristina La Feuvre said: “The immediate impact to Jersey’s business community is difficult to predict. Jersey is outside the EU for most purposes and the direct impact on Jersey would therefore be expected to be limited. Jersey’s free trade in goods and services with the UK (where most of our exports are directed) would remain unaffected. Whilst it is in theory possible that free trade in goods with the EU Member States could disappear at the end of the two year withdrawal period, in practice we would expect a new arrangement to have been put in place.
The financial services and legal sector, is already outside the EU and its status will therefore be unaffected by the UK’s withdrawal. However, the Jersey economy will not be immune from the macroeconomic effects of the UK electorate’s decision, particularly if there is a slowdown in the City of London. Jersey’s financial services sector, however operates in diverse markets, so we would hope the island can ride out this period of uncertainty.”
Although Jersey has some experience in direct negotiations with other countries and jurisdictions, the island remains intrinsically linked to the UK.
Kristina La Feuvre said: “It is imperative the island's business community are kept well informed. Chamber members and islanders need to know our Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst and his team are negotiating the very best deal possible with the UK, EU and global politicians. Ensuring the island's interests are a priority and Jersey’s economy remains buoyant.