Compliance Week interviewed Venable partner Ashley Craig in a July 6, 2016 article on the impact of the United Kingdom's historic vote to leave the European Union on U.S. companies. While the process to formally split the EU requires months of negotiations, many companies are looking for more immediate answers as to what the vote means for business across Europe.
"This could be much ado about nothing," said Craig. "U.S. companies want consistency. They want some sort of stability, but we are not going to get that right away. In the meantime, they need to be cautious, practical, and monitor what's going on." Despite talk by bank holding companies that they might relocate to other countries, Craig says not to worry just yet. "A lot of what is going on right now is more rhetoric than reality," he said pointing to the difficulty of leaving London, one of the world's financial hubs.
One reason the UK has been key for American companies is its easy access to the rest of the EU and third-country markets through Customs Union and Free Trade Agreements which will have to renegotiated. "The British are going to have to quickly stand up an entire trade authority which they haven't had to do in generations," Craig added. "On top of it, they are going to have to go about negotiating multilateral trade agreements around the world. That's not a slam dunk and it is certainly not something that can be expedited. Practically speaking, it is not going to affect the day-to-day trade flow, but it is a long-term concern."