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Isle Of Man's Financial Sector Prepares For Life After Brexit

by Jason Gorringe, Lowtax.net, London
17 May, 2017

The Isle of Man's Chief Minister, Howard Quayle, has addressed the potential implications of Brexit in recent comments to the island's parliament.

He said it is now clear the UK will not be part of the EU Single Market and will leave the Customs Union. This means the legal basis for the Isle of Man's inclusion in the EU Customs Union, and in the Single Market for free trade in goods, will fall away on March 30, 2019, and will not be replicated.

Quayle said the challenges for the island center on the potential introduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers when trading in agricultural and manufactured goods. He also said the free of movement of people between the UK and the EU is likely to be restricted or reduced, potentially making life more difficult for people who live in the Isle of Man but who originally come from outside the UK, as well as for people from the island now living in the EU. This could also mean access to labor becomes more difficult or costly.

In terms of opportunities post-Brexit, Quayle said these are likely to be commercial. New markets may open up for the island, particularly in its stronger sectors like financial services or e-business. But he noted that this increased market access is unlikely to be in the EU and may potentially be further afield.

The Chief Minister said if there was no UK/EU free trade agreement in place, World Trade Organization (WTO) schedules would apply to the UK's trade with Europe as well as with other WTO members. As the UK's membership of the WTO included the Isle of Man, those schedules would also apply to the island. Quayle said this means the island must ensure that it has the right legal and administrative framework in place to give effect to these external tariffs.

In addition to the WTO issue, Quayle said his Government is assessing how the Isle of Man could be included in future free trade agreements negotiated by the UK, but he cautioned that the island cannot expect to gain the right to free trade without having to meet certain obligations.

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