by Cara Dowling, Norton Rose Fulbright (London)*
On Wednesday 29th March 2017, the UK government triggered Article 50 formally beginning the process of withdrawing the UK from the European Union. On that historic day, the London office of Norton Rose Fulbright and EFILA co-hosted a panel discussion with distinguished experts from industry, trade policy and investment treaty arbitration to discuss the impact of Brexit.
Deborah Ruff, international arbitration Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright chaired the discussion, which centred on such topics as what would change post-Brexit for trade, foreign direct investment and investor-state dispute settlement. The panel was comprised of Chris Southworth, Secretary General of the ICC UK, Norah Gallagher, Academic Director, Energy and Natural Resources Law Institute and EFILA board member, Ali Malek QC of 3 Verulam Buildings, and Milagros Miranda Rojas, special advisor on WTO and International Trade, Norton Rose Fulbright.
The evening quickly turned into a lively and engaged discussion amongst the panellists each of whom offered a unique perspective on the impact of Brexit from their respective fields of expertise. Members of the audience, many of whom hailed from different European countries and/or represented companies with a global or pan-European footprint, also passionately engaged with the panel, offering their own thoughts on both the issues and possible outcomes.
There was a general consensus that negotiating Brexit and future trade deals between the EU and UK would be complex not least because negotiating positions will be influenced by factors beyond simple economic considerations. The mood however was generally positive with all expressing a hope for constructive discourse leading to a trade agreement or at least an investment agreement providing states and foreign direct investors with effective dispute resolution mechanisms.
The session was, somewhat reluctantly, brought to a close, allowing panel members and guests to enthusiastically continue the conversation and debate over networking drinks on Norton Rose Fulbright’s terrace overlooking Tower Bridge. Thank you to all who participated in this thought-provoking evening.
* Cara Dowling, Senior knowledge lawyer, Norton Rose Fulbright, London