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What Brexit Could Mean For Trade Between Idaho And The UK

Alberto Pezzali
AP Images


Between Brexit and a big change with the royal family, Britain has been in the news a lot recently. 

The United Kingdom officially left the European Union on January 31. Brexit has been brewing for years, and the partisan politics that came with it have fractured the populace. 

So what does it mean now that the ink has dried on that chapter in the country’s history? And how does Brexit affect the U.S., including Idaho? 

"Agriculture is actually on the list where we see potential for the future." - Andrew Whittaker

Andrew Whittaker is the Consul General for the British Consulate based in San Francisco. His work takes him to western states, and this week he’s visiting Idaho in a post-Brexit world. He stopped by our studios for an interview on Idaho Matters

“I’m hearing what matters to the people of Idaho, speaking to the governor, speaking to the big trade representatives, [and] talking to companies about what they want to see in the future relationship,” Whittaker said. 

The UK is now in the “implementation period” of Brexit, where they are free to strike bilateral deals with individual countries outside the European Union. The career civil servant said the United States is at the top of that list.

Currently, the UK comes in seventh on the Census lists of countries where Idaho goods and services are exported. He said that’s worth about $250 million. And according to him, about 2,500 Idahoans are employed by UK-based companies. 

Whittaker said there is at least one area of Idaho’s economy that could benefit from Brexit. 

“Agriculture is actually on the list where we see potential for the future.” Under EU rules, Britain had strict rules they had to follow for trade. Now, states in the U.S. like Idaho have an opportunity to work closer with our friends across the pond. 

Besides a visit with Governor Brad Little, Whittaker’s visit to Idaho this week included a stop in eastern Idaho at the Idaho National Laboratory.  

Have a question or comment for the show? Tweet @KBSX915 using #IdahoMatters

Frankie Barnhill is the Senior Producer of Idaho Matters, Boise State Public Radio's daily show and podcast. She's always interested in hearing surprising and enlightening stories about life in the West. Have an idea for Idaho Matters? Drop her a line!