Cost of Brexit chaos to Baltics outlined in new report

A new report from Swedbank, titled "How much havoc would Brexit bring?" attempts to estimate the potential impact of the United Kingdom's increasingly disorderly exit from the European Union.

With the prospect of the UK spiralling out of the EU in a so-called "no deal" scenario looking more likely by the minute despite two and a half years of negotiations, Swedbank warns that while Britain itself would be hardest hit, the Nordic and Baltic countries would also feel some fallout.

"While Sweden faces potentially higher cost of trade in billion euros, Latvia and Lithuania could suffer more damage to their economies due to higher degree of openness," says Swedbank.

The degree of damage would depend on institutional preparedness and contingency planning plus ad hoc agreements for key issues such as financial services or airspace.

Estimated cost of Brexit

Firms importing from the UK would face larger costs in a WTO scenario as import tariffs would rise from zero for intra-EU trade to the amount of EU’s external tariffs. The move to WTO rules would vary by sector; some sectors will face rates significantly higher than the trade weighted average.

The total cost of import tariffs is nearly 0.1% of national 2017 GDP for the Baltics and Sweden, according to Swedbank's analysis.

Meanwhile on exports, tariffs on food and manufactured goods would hit Latvia with 5% tariffs on food, 7% on manufactured goods and 2% on raw materials such as the important timber sector. 

Brexit under WTO rules could potentially cost Latvia 0.39% of annual GDP, while Estonia would be impacted less at 0.19% and Lithuania slightly more at 0.41%.

While some exporters would be hit by the complication and potential breakdown in trade with the UK, the good news is that Swedbank estimates most UK exports to our region are fairly easily replaceable from other suppliers. The finance sector is rated the most exposed.




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