A referendum was held on the 23rd of June to decide whether the United Kingdom should leave – Brexit – or remain in the European Union. Leave won by 52% to 48%. The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting.
But, it may be a while before the UK officially leaves. For the country to officially leave the EU, it has to formally invoke an agreement called Article 50, which is part of the Lisbon Treaty. Once Article 50 has been invoked in a letter or a speech, the formal process of withdrawing from the EU can begin, at which point the UK has two years to negotiate its withdrawal with the other member states.
Theresa May, the new prime minister after David Cameron stepped down last month, has said she will respect the will of the people because “Brexit means Brexit and we’re going to make a success of it.” However, she has stated that she will not start the process before the end of 2016.
In the midst of the uncertainty that the eventual exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Brexit) represents to the world, the rupture could bring new business opportunities for Costa Rica.
This is what the panelists agreed on in the conference “Prospects and Impact of Brexit in Costa Rica,” organized by the Chamber of British-Costa Rican Trade (BRITCHAM) on Saturday at the Park Inn Hotel in San Jose.
“We are still open to business,” expressed his Excellency Ross Denny, Ambassador of the British Majesty in Costa Rica, who also reiterated the intention of his Government to support the incorporation of Costa Rica to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union would allow Costa Rica to increase their exports to the area, promoting the country as a tourist destination and attracting foreign direct investment.
According to data from the Ministry of Foreign Trade (Comex), foreign direct investment of the United Kingdom in Costa Rica was $40 million in 2015.
In terms of exports, the figure represented $179 million in 2015, with bananas, fresh or dried, the main products of sale to this destination.