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‘Guernsey will emerge stronger post-Brexit’

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THE island can emerge stronger from Brexit, according to the chairman of the Guernsey Investment Fund Association.

Guernsey Investment Fund Association chairman Paul Smith. (23630240)

Paul Smith also said that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit was now more likely after Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal with the European Union was rejected by MPs in a crushing defeat.

The proposed withdrawal agreement included a transition period that would have also applied to the Crown Dependencies. If agreed, it would have maintained existing trading relationships that Guernsey currently has under its Protocol 3 relationship with the EU during that time.

‘They were in a mess before and there are now in a slightly worse mess. I think we need to be preparing for a no-deal Brexit,’ said Mr Smith.

The island was as prepared as it could be for a no-deal, he said, while one of Guernsey’s strengths was its adaptability and flexibility – although the current issue was uncertainty around Brexit.

‘I think Guernsey will come out of this as strong if not stronger.'

Dave Sauvarin, country head, Channel Islands at Northern Trust Corporation, said: ‘In a week where we are likely to see an unprecedented use of the word unprecedented in the media and in a climate of protracted uncertainty for investors, once again Guernsey delivers.

In a post on LinkedIn, he also said: ‘Access to markets, demonstrable substance, stability, flexibility, innovation, with a world-class reputation. Some say why Guernsey?, I say why not?’

Rick Denton, the international representative on Institute of Directors’ national council, said another UK referendum on EU membership or a ‘disorderly’ Brexit could be on the cards.

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A disorderly Brexit could affect the UK economy, and have a ‘knock-effect’ on Guernsey’s economic health. ‘We don’t know yet what the British relationship with the EU will be. We don’t know how Protocol 3 will be affected yet,’ added Mr Denton.

Chief minister Gavin St Pier tweeted that he had spoken to Robin Walker, the minister for the Department for Exiting the EU, after Tuesday’s historic Brexit vote and was pleased that the UK recognised the pressure placed on the island with deal and no-deal planning.

Deputy St Pier said the two parties were committed to ongoing dialogue and close working on no-deal planning. ‘Our interests will continue to be represented, not least to ensure that Guernsey obligations remain proportionate.’

He had stressed to Mr Walker the importance of extending the UK’s membership of the World Trade Organisation to Guernsey and would meet the minister at the end of the month.

Will Green

By Will Green
Business Editor

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