Apr 16, 2019
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – The EU-27 approved a new official Brexit deadline here last week of October 31, 2019. This is the third official date for the Brexit; the original plan was to leave the EU on March 29, but repeated failure of the UK government to gain Parliament's approval of an exit deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May and fear of a "hard Brexit" has resulted in a series of postponements. According to the new roadmap, the UK can leave the EU before the Halloween deadline if Parliament ratifies the current exit agreement. Prime Minister May and the leader of the opposition Labour party are reportedly in negotiations on a plan acceptable to Parliament.
“Last week’s events leave U.S. rice exporters facing the status quo for now and uncertainty for the longer term,” said USA Rice COO Bob Cummings. EU import duties continue to apply on U.S. rice exports to the UK, and EU and UK government plans to divide up the zero-duty tariff rate quota for 38,721 metric tons (milled basis) of U.S. rice between the UK and the remaining EU-27 remain under negotiation in the World Trade Organization. “Our main goal of a U.S.-UK free trade agreement keeps getting pushed back as long as the UK remains in the EU or remains as part of the EU customs union, which is a major component of the prime minister’s exit plan.”
Despite strong rhetoric on both sides of the English Channel, economic assessments of the costs to both the UK and EU-27 economies of a hard Brexit prevailed in granting another extension and more time for a negotiated outcome. The UK Parliament remains fragmented
among many different interest groups including those who oppose and support different Brexit scenarios, and even supporters of a second referendum to avoid Brexit altogether.
“The prime minister’s exit plan is supposed to cover the transition while the UK and the EU negotiate their long term economic relationship. The longer this transition lasts, the longer the delay in a U.S.-UK trade agreement,” concluded Cummings.