● Kimmo Pesonen, “Understanding the possible models for post-Brexit trade in goods between United Kingdom and European Union”

Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences (2017) 41 págs.


Brexit means that the United Kingdom intends to leave the European Union in one way or another. The UK has stated that they no longer seek to continue their membership in the EU, and the two negotiating sides have theoretically until March 2019 to agree on the terms of the exit and post-withdrawal relationship. This qualitative research sets out to understand what could possibly take place afterwards in the context of post-Brexit trade in goods between the UK and EU, and to provide descriptions of the plausible frameworks that could be utilized. The primary goal of the research is in the extension of knowledge.
In order to gain an understanding of the UK's exit from the EU, the research sets out initially to establish what defines the trade in goods currently, and what can be subject to change following the situation that the UK discontinues its membership in the EU. The theoretical framework provides an overall picture of the underlying dependencies and what enforces the existing state of affairs between the EU’s members. The compiled theories conceptualizes what specific institutions the UK is about to exit, and what kind of trade agreements and models the EU utilizes. The identified aspects provide the fundamental course for the research by guiding the information search and analysis that is to follow.
The data that this research utilizes is based on an overview of existing documents, therefore counting as a form of secondary research known as desk research. The information is gathered from journal and news articles, reports from professional advisory services and educational research centres, as well as publications done by various EU and UK institutions discussing the UK’s to be negotiated exit. Sources were chosen on the criteria that they provided the most relevant and up to date information that the research required. With the knowledge about the structure of the effectual EU membership in mind, individual sections that define the whole integrity are advanced with inductive analysis and by drawing comparison from existing frameworks between the EU and different countries.
The findings support several likely outcomes that could potentially serve as the basis for post-withdrawal trade in goods between the UK and the EU. In conclusion, the research provides the descriptions of four plausible models for trade that still require giving up the full EU membership. Firstly, a membership in the European Economic Area would be the closest comparison to the current integration and market access. Secondly, the UK could remain in the EU’s customs union and attain some level of tariff-free trade in goods. Third model requires securing a bilateral trade agreement with the EU upon exiting, with the scope depending on what the parties agree to include. And lastly, by not reaching any form of a deal or other conclusion in the exit negotiations, the post-Brexit trade would be conducted under the World Trade Organization’s international trade rules by default.

Keywords: Brexit, European Union, European Single Market, trade in goods, free movement of goods