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ICS Contemplates Post-Brexit Trade Environment

Sadie Keljikian, Top Billion Finance
The International Chamber of Shipping, or ICS, is predicting how Brexit might impact shipping.

The United Kingdom’s recent vote to leave the European Union will undoubtedly change international relations in Europe and elsewhere, but ICS secretary general Peter Hinchcliffe has said that the changes could benefit the world market. “The UK, in my experience, has tended to be quite brave in the IMO [International Maritime Organization]. Sometimes it has been prepared to argue against the EU for the greater good of the industry and maritime trade so therefore it’s interesting to think about how that role might change when the UK is released from the European restraints.”

He went on to note that leaving the EU will force the UK to focus more energy on maritime trade — an industry the island nation has a long standing and illustrious history, due to fewer trade opportunities in surrounding countries post-Brexit. Hinchcliffe claims that the UK’s historical success in the maritime and international trade industry suggests that the real loss in the equation may end up being Europe’s lack of participation in British trade.

The EU stands to lose the most in this equation, according to Hinchcliffe, who says that the EU will suffer with the United Kingdom no longer “inside the tent.” He predicts that the UK will do as best they can to comply with international regulations and even EU regulations, as many of them are consistent with IMO.

Regardless of the implications, Hinchcliffe says that he is “fairly surprised by the…instability that one country has been able to cause by a single, albeit momentous decision.” The UK and all its allies and trade partners will have to manage instability and changing policies once it begins the formal process of withdrawing from EU, so the ultimate effects are quite difficult to predict.

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