BREXIT Done: Time For a UK Trade Reset
Forbes Indonesia|February 2021
On December 31, 2020, after numerous stalls in discussions and negotiation deadline postponements, the United Kingdom exited its transition arrangements with the European Union – BREXIT was officially completed. Few will remember when the UK originally joined the Common Market, and fewer still may be aware that it was British World War II Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, who in 1946, conceived of the idea of an ‘United States of Europe’, as a measure to prevent future wars on the continent.
Chris Wren

Fifteen years later, the Treaty of Rome (1958) led to the foundation of the European Economic Community, bringing down tariffs between its six founder member states in Western Europe. The six did not include the United Kingdom, and it was not until after ten years of negotiation that the UK joined the EEC (or the Common Market as it was known colloquially) in 1973.

The UK was often regarded as the delinquent member even before supporting the ratification of the European Union in Maastricht in 1992. In her 1988 Bruges speech, the iconic Margaret Thatcher is accredited with having sown the seeds of Euroscepticism. The UK joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) in October 1990 under Chancellor John Major but performed a U-turn two years later on Black Wednesday when the value of the pound could not be supported with the ERM trading bands by the Bank of England. Britain opted out of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and did not adopt the single currency Euro when it was launched in 1999. Arguably and put simply, the British people have always been comfortable with a strong and thriving trading relationship with the EU but have shown evermore less comfort since the Maastricht Treaty, which created the three-pillared structure which included intergovernmental decision-making in foreign and security policy and justice and home affairs matters – i.e., a European political union.

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