How no-deal exit will hit Britain

Anti-Brexit activists display the Union and EU flags as they demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London on March 28, 2019.
Anti-Brexit activists display the Union and EU flags as they demonstrate outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London on March 28, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • If Britain fails to break its Brexit logjam, the country is faced with the prospect of crashing out of the European Union on April 12. Here are the main ways Britain would be affected:


Around 80 per cent of British companies judged themselves ready for a no-deal exit, according to a Bank of England survey published on March 21, up from 50 per cent in an equivalent January survey.

However, it said many companies noted that the potential impacts on tariffs, border frictions, exchange rate movements and recognition of certifications "were outside their control".


Britain will default to "third country" status with the EU, with trade relations to run on World Trade Organisation rules. Britain will also lose access to markets covered by EU trade agreements, although it has managed to replicate some of these.


The EU says it would immediately begin Customs checks, food safety inspections and verification of EU standards at its border with Britain, leading to long delays at busy crossing points.

Britain has moved to open up new routes and increase links from other ports to decongest Dover.


Britain says it would not immediately apply Customs checks on the border with Ireland, to avoid raising tensions in the once conflict-ridden province of Northern Ireland.

But the EU says it would insist on monitoring goods moving across what will become the bloc's external frontier. Britain has suggested it may have to reimpose direct rule over Northern Ireland to manage a no-deal exit situation.


An estimated 3.5 million European citizens are living in Britain, and around one million Britons are settled elsewhere in the EU.

Britain and many other member states have already offered to protect their rights, although their long-term status would have been more clearly defined in Mrs Theresa May's deal. British citizens travelling to the EU will be limited to 90-day stays and would be subject to tighter passport checks.


The British government has asked drug companies to stockpile six weeks' supply of an estimated 7,000 prescription or pharmacy-only drugs that come from Europe.


Some stop-gap agreements have been reached on both sides, including a one-year agreement to protect the derivatives market, which is based in London.


The EU has agreed to allow flights from Britain into the other 27 member states to continue until March next year if London reciprocates, but airlines might not be able to make intra-EU connections.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2019, with the headline 'How no-deal exit will hit Britain'. Subscribe