Professor Pete Hahn: “How do You Negotiate Quickly With no Negotiators?”

Yesterday, media reporting focused on the new UK cabinet and the desire to move Brexit, and largely our trade stance and preparation for trade negotiations, ahead quickly.

Today I noted that we had no experienced trade negotiators in the government.  How do you negotiate quickly without negotiators?

Government officials noted that we may have to go to the private sector for the skills needed (once we know what they are), while Nigel Farage suggested hiring experienced trade negotiators from other countries.

Mr Farage’s suggestion is extraordinary; I don’t know of any major capital markets centre outside of London that has had trade negotiation experience.  One of countries he named was Switzerland whose banks do their European capital markets business through London as does the USA.  Trade negotiators, as individuals get the best deal for their nations.  This is civil service and patriotism. Would a trade negotiator from another country really maximise the UK’s opportunity or perhaps his or her own countries?  How would we pay these people?  By the hour and negotiations may never end, by speedy completion and they will likely leave a messy deal with long-term complications, or by a specified achievement which may be too easily or difficult to achieve with another messy end.  We could hire domestic consultants with similarly crossed or conflicted objectives, but in all cases it seems impossible to be a quick exercise.  Should we prepare for long term uncertainty?  Is it better to know that in advance and manage this risk?  Could the UK now say that it needs five years to prepare for Brexit and then execute in two years?  In banking & finance, five years might just as well be forever.”

Author: Dylan Jones

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