Foreign Affairs Ministry urges preparations for no-deal Brexit in Latvia

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Latvia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs prompts other ministries and state institutions to prepare for the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, reported on July 31.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent letters to other ministries, the Bank of Latvia, the Employers' Confederation of Latvia and the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, enjoining all to begin drawing up action plans for a possible “hard Brexit”.

“We are urging the public to take these issues seriously,” said the Press Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jānis Beķeris.

In case of a no-deal Brexit, EU rights and EU international agreements will no longer apply to the UK starting from November 1. Even though the EU and the UK will remain in touch through certain international alliances, there will be little actual cooperation. When the UK leaves the customs union, it will be subject to the same rules, checks, and tariffs as all other third countries.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains that the EU would ideally take five years to prepare a single trade agreement. “There will be no such possibility. The night of October 31 has many surprises in store for us,” added Beķeris.

The Employers' Confederation of Latvia (LDDK) has already observed that one of the causes of the slowed economic growth is Brexit. The export of wood and its products into the UK, for example, has fallen; the British businesses, in anticipation of no-deal Brexit, have already prepared reserves of timber and hence no longer relies so much on import.

Chairman of the Saeima Foreign Affairs Commission Rihards Kols (National Alliance) emphasized that only one thing can be predicted – from November 1, chaos will define the relations between the EU and the UK. “There's nothing to be done on the Saeima level. The issues have to be resolved on the EU level,” said Kols.

The ministry also stressed that Latvia's, like the EU's, priority in Brexit talks is to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

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