The final Brexit deal will guarantee the continuation of free trade between the EU and the UK, optimistic entrepreneurs told EURACTIV.cz.
The article was originally published on 13 April 2018 by Aktuálně.cz, EURACTIV.cz’s media partner.
The UK will officially leave the EU in less than a year. At the half-way point in the Article 50 talks, there are only few concrete results so far. The parties have agreed on the rights of the EU citizens living in the UK and their UK counterparts in the EU, as well as the financial settlement or two-year transition period.
However, future relations are far from clear. Some parts of Czech business are nevertheless positive and believe that pragmatism will prevail.
The TERRAMET Company which imports construction machinery from the UK to the Czech Republic, is a good example.
“I do not think Brexit will have a negative impact to our company. Sanity and pragmatism are going to win. Trade with the EU is half of the British trade exchange. They cannot exist one without the other,” Petr Kotršál, TERRAMET Managing Director, said.
He draws a comparison with the recent threats by the US to impose steel and aluminium tariffs. “The EU has negotiated an exception. And the US government will finally agree with China, too. Pragmatism prevails in business,” he added.
That, he says, is why his company does not plan to adopt any special measures ahead of Brexit. “If there is some problem and the UK does not come to the agreement with the EU, there always will be a way to do business,” he believes.
Fenix Trading Company owner, Cyril Svozil, has the same opinion. The company is the biggest European manufacturer of electric heating systems and exports goods from the Czech Republic to the UK.
“I feel that the European Commission wants to create a deterrent case and show the British how big a mistake they have made. I hope they will calm down and the final deal will be rational,” he stressed.
More markets for the EU companies
Svozil also believes that Brexit could be useful for European companies, but only if there is the continuation of free trade.
In his view, Britain will quickly strike new trade deals with third countries, because it will not be bound by EU trade policy any more.
“I have no doubts about it. The UK will make much more advantageous trade deals than the EU did. Through the UK market, we could potentially get to the markets where we cannot operate nowadays because of tariffs and other obstacles,” he added.
However, the Czech biggest steelmaking company, Třinecké železárny – Moravia steel, is more cautious.
“Brexit is one of the many political topics that affect our business, but it is not the most important one. Though yes, we are monitoring the situation,” the press secretary of the company, Petra Macková, said.
So far, the company does not see any impact from Brexit on its business, but is cautious about the future.
“It depends on the negotiated trade conditions. The most important is not to impose tariffs or administrative barriers. But it is too early to comment it,” Macková stressed.