If Britain wants to prosper outside the European Union (EU), it will have to develop sufficiently strong trade partnerships with non-European countries. This is a way to overcome the loss of the single European market. In London, the ideas for Great Britain are already being snatched, but rhetoric is one, and reality is quite different.
One of the possible directions for the British after Brexit is Southeast Asia, but the British government underestimates the challenges and probably has not understood the importance of the trade relations that the EU has with signing deals with other countries.
The business and politicians in Asia will be led by London’s agreement with the EU in defining the country as a potential partner. It can not be expected that fast-growing Asian economies will prioritize their relations with a country that has not yet defined its place on the world map.
For the ASEAN countries, which economy is estimated at 2.8 trillion USD and a population of 640 million people, a much more important partner is the United States, China or the EU, but not the United Kingdom. Trade with the EU as a whole is estimated at over 345 billion USD and with the United Kingdom 34 billion USD.
Asian companies, which made big investments on the island since the 1980s, expect concrete guarantees to protect their interests after Brexit. In fact, they chose the country because it gives access to the European market by just over half a billion consumers. But if they can not use this opportunity they will move.
And so London faces the unpleasant paradox – to attract global business, Britain must show that it will maintain its good ties and trade conditions with the EU. The British must be more realistic about the scope and timing of future trade agreements.
The former US President Barack Obama has already warned that Britain will be in the queue for a new trade deal if it leaves the EU, and its opinion is shared by other world leaders.