Brexit Scarecrows depicting former British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson are displayed during the Scarecrow Festival in Heather, Britain July 31, 2016. REUTERS/Darren Staples
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LONDON: Britain is woefully short of one thing it desperately needs in its high-stakes divorce from the European Union: experienced trade negotiators. Ever since Britain joined the bloc in 1973, the EU has handled its trade talks, so expertise in this area has migrated to Brussels. That means the government has only a few dozen skilled negotiators – against the 1,200 it will need, by one estimate – as it embarks on the complex talks that will determine the U.K.'s relationship with its most important trading partners.Add to this the fact that Britain has no clear plan yet for what it wants to achieve and that EU rules give it only a fraction of the time normally required to complete a major trade deal, and chances are the U.K. will gain less and pay more for leaving the bloc than campaigners promised, according to experts on negotiations and trade.There is no doubt the U.K. is a big part of the EU.The EU would have an incentive to make it difficult for Britain to avoid giving other EU states the impression that breaking away is economically easy and attractive.
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