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New report: Recommendations for Swedish priorities in upcoming Brexit negotiations

2018-02-23

The National Board of Trade has been commissioned by the Swedish Government to identify which sectors are particularly important for Sweden in the upcoming Brexit negotiations. The report has now been delivered to the Swedish Government. Director General Anna Stellinger explains the main points of After Brexit – Recommendations for Swedish priorities in upcoming negotiations.

What are your main conclusions?

- A first conclusion is that some businesses and sectors are more sensitive to Brexit than others. Based on a range of factors, from trade statistics to number of jobs supported by trade, we have identified the sectors that are particularly important for Sweden in the upcoming Brexit negotiations. Among others, we single out the car industry, wood and paper sectors as well as business services (a sector that stretches from licensed professionals to IT services).

- With regards to these sectors, it is clear that even the most ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement or partnership will not even come close to what we have today. There is simply no magic solution to replace the EU internal market and customs union. Furthermore, we find that trade in these essential sectors is not only dependent on sector-specific rules such as those on cars, paper or business services. Horizontal issues such as the movement of goods and services, as well as the possibility to move persons or data are also crucial.

- This is our main message to the Swedish Government: yes, specific sectors may be more negatively impacted than others, but in order to limit the negative effects of Brexit we need to focus on finding solutions to the broader issues. When it becomes more difficult to move people and data and to deliver services or to trust that mutually agreed rules are actually followed – trade in general, regardless of sector, is challenged.

Horizontal issues in a new agreement between the EU and United Kingdom

In more detail - what is the report about?

- The Swedish Government has commissioned the National Board of Trade to analyze the trade between Sweden and the United Kingdom and recommend solutions in order to mitigate the negative impact of Brexit. The report contains a deep and broad analysis of what we consider should be the top priorities for Sweden in the upcoming Brexit negotiations. We were asked to identify sectors that are particularly important for Sweden. However, as the expert agency in Sweden on both the EU internal market and international trade, the key message from us is that, in addition to sector-specific rules, major horizontal issues such as the movement of persons, data transfers and the fact that we can trust that whatever is agreed upon will be complied with, are extremely important. In summary, regardless of sector or industry, all these building blocks of trade are vital for a smooth trade relationship with the UK after Brexit. And I would like to add that this is in no regards a political statement, it is a conclusion from a 260-page expert report from an independent agency.

Does that mean that there are no specific sectors´ interests that the Swedish government should pursue?

- Of course there are sectors of particular interest to Sweden. We have looked at how important, in figures, the trade with the UK is in different sectors, where the added value is created and how many jobs in Sweden that are supported by trade. As a result of this we have listed several sectors that we regard as priorities. One illustrative example is motor vehicles where all the technical rules within the EU that facilitate trade are important and would be lost with Brexit. The tariffs that would be introduced post Brexit without an agreement, would also be high.

How high?

- In a scenario of a Brexit without a trade agreement, we can expect 10 percent to be added on passenger cars and 22 percent on trucks the very day Brexit is a fact. A sector that is important for Sweden, but where the tariffs will not be as high however, are paper and pulp products. But Brexit will nevertheless result in an increased administrative burden, also in this sector, with red tape as an added cost for businesses.

What happens now?

- We have handed over a thorough analysis to the Swedish Government. Our analysis consists of policy advice from a trade perspective. The political conclusions to draw and the political strategy to develop is up to our elected politicians. I'd like to emphasize that the National Board of Trade is a non-political, impartial and independent government agency with a staff of 100 people, experts on the EU internal market and international trade. We are not a part of any ministry or political organization. We have an internationally unique position as independent experts on both the relationship between the EU and UK today (EU internal market) and the possible solutions in the future (international trade agreeements). We are merely focused on the necessary instruments of making trade happen.

For now, the report is only available in Swedish. There will be a translation in English in the coming weeks which will be distributed here on our website as well as in social media.

For more information and interviews, please contact:

Anna Stellinger, Director General 
Phone: 073-424 49 90

Ingrid Lindeberg, Press Relations Manager
Phone: 08-690 49 00

To news archive

Brief summary

Brief summary of the report (PDF, in English)

National Board of Trade, P.O. Box 6803, SE-113 86 Stockholm. 
Visiting Address: Drottninggatan 89. 
Phone: +46 8 690 48 00     Fax: +46 8 30 67 59

E-mail: kommersk...@kommers.se

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