Brexit has been in the headlines for three years – most Americans know the word and, to some degree, what it’s about. What they don’t think about is how it might affect their own life here at home. While it’s technically an international matter concerning the European Union, anything involving politics and the economy is going to have effects that reach beyond borders – even across the Atlantic.
Jobs at home?
One important issue in Brexit is that it nullifies trade deals, meaning that Britain would separate from the UK without a backup plan for its trade deals. This essentially means British folks will have to pay more for US-made goods. Higher prices mean reduced sales. Fewer sales in Britain could mean changes in the US workforce.
Travel might be the most obvious way Brexit will affect Americans. As part of the EU, work visas were simplified to travel between European countries. Many US companies expand first to the UK, then other parts of Europe, meaning that the extra separate could impact how US businesses grow. Even recreational travelers will have more customs forms to fill out when overseas.
An impact on immigration?
Immigration is certainly in US news already, but the EU also plays a role. Traditionally, Britain stands up for its Commonwealth states, easing immigration for residents of Africa and the Caribbean throughout Europe. If immigrants from these countries lose this foot-in-the-door, they may consider relocating to the United States.
Many questions loom
The US is the UK’s strongest single-country trading partner. However, the US only exports a fraction of its overall GDP to Britain. By being a strong partner, it’s possible that trading could increase. It’s also possible that the new arrangement will lead to leader to a higher cost of living in Britain and, consequently, fewer US goods being sold. Another concern is the international market. Markets dropped the day after the original Brexit move and, generally speaking, the market responds poorly to the unknown.
It would be an understatement to say that Brexit is currently defined by uncertainty. There are many predictions and the biggest variable is how the changes in Great Britain will affect the rest of Europe and even the US. It may be a ripple effect or it may be a tidal wave. Whatever happens, it’s important for Americans to prepare, knowing that change could be coming.