Potential impact of Brexit on United States


The United Kingdom flag (top) and the flag of Europe (bottom). The United Kingdom will withdraw from the European Union Friday.

Sage Smith

The United Kingdom (UK) will leave the European Union (EU) Friday, which may impact the United States travel and trade.

Brexit, which refers to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, will be official 5 p.m. Central time Friday. The United Kingdom includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union by 52 percent to 48 percent in the June 2016 referendum vote, according to BBC News. England and Wales majority vote was to leave the European Union while Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain.

Kelly Shaw, associate teaching professor of political science, worked for the European Union for six years as the associate director of the European Union Center at the University of Missouri from 1999 to 2005.

Shaw said because of the larger populations in England and Wales, it was decided the United Kingdom would leave. Shaw said it has gotten to a point where the United Kingdom and the European Union are like a couple getting divorced who have three kids and can’t agree on who gets the kids.

“In this case the kids are basically access to the markets,” Shaw said. “They can’t agree on it so bad that both have agreed to say ‘Alright we’re going to divorce and then we’ll try to negotiate with our attorneys afterwards.’ So that’s kind of the metaphor we’re at now with the EU.”

The three kids being the economics, social and political aspects. With the economic side, the United Kingdom separating from the European Union could allow more opportunity for the United States with the agriculture trade world.

Previously the trade negotiations took place with the European Union and now with the United Kingdom being outside of the European Union, they can make their own negotiations.

“There are some trade problems between the European Union and us,” Shaw said. “Particularly around issues such as genetically modified organisms. [European Union] have much more strict labeling requirements there.”

Shaw said the United Kingdom is more progressive and receptive than the European Union when it comes to genetically modified organisms and hormones in meat. United Kingdom being on its own could lead to more agriculture trade with the United States.

When it comes to the social aspect, students in the United States and the United Kingdom may be impacted by Brexit because of the European Union’s program called Erasmus+.

This program is meant to “support education, training, youth and sport in Europe,” according to the European Commission’s website. The budget for Erasmus+ provides Europeans with opportunities to gain experience while studying abroad.

The United Kingdom no longer having this program means students in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland won’t have that abroad opportunity.

“In essence the UK students who are studying abroad now, studying in Europe, they’ll be recalled back [to their home universities],” Shaw said. “They could probably stay if they wanted to but they wouldn’t get the cheap tuition that Erasmus provides for them.”

Another difficulty Brexit could present, Shaw said, is the increased difficulty for United States citizens to travel to Europe as the European Union has announced the citizens need visas to travel there. United States citizens will still be able to travel to the United Kingdom as they will be separate from the European Union.