On Thursday, January 16 at the Chamber of Commerce of Zaragoza, the Minister Counselor of the British Embassy in Spain, Tim Hemmings, stressed that, even though the United Kingdom will leave the European Union in just two weeks (on January 31), there would be a transitional period that lasts until the end of 2020 in which nothing would change for companies or people. He also stated that the agreement established that the rights of citizens won't change, not for the 200,000 Spaniards residing in the United Kingdom nor for the 350,000 Britons living in Spain.
"The challenge we have in common now is finding out how to maintain commercial relations," he stated. In this regard, he recalled that the United Kingdom is the fourth destination for Aragon exports.
Hemmings also said the Brexit was going through a "more optimistic" moment and stressed that he couldn't imagine a scenario in which the European Parliament rejected the economic agreement. During the meeting, in which he informed representatives of Aragonese companies about the commercial and political landscape in the United Kingdom, Hemmings stressed that, even though many people thought the UK's departure from the European Union was a sad event, at least they had the certainty that they would reach an agreement with the EU; in fact, everything points to a wide-ranging free trade agreement. The rules are going to be new and the UK won't be part of the single market, but the coming actions are not intended to damage trade relations, he added.
Given the uncertainty of the Aragonese businessmen, the diplomat stressed that the UK's departure from the European Union wouldn't lead to an immediate imposition of tariffs. In fact, he said, "there won't be much change for people and companies."
Aragon exports to the United Kingdom amounted to 783.8 million in 2018, which accounts for 6.6% of all of their exports (11,915.7 million). Since 2007, when the Brexit was announced, the figures have fallen by around 13%, with agribusiness being one of the most affected sectors.