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Brexit An Opportunity For Oklahoma's Economy, OSU Trade Experts Say

U.K. Prime Minister's Office
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at 10 Downing Street on Jan. 30, 2020.

Brexit -- the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union -- could be an opportunity to grow Oklahoma's export economy, according to researchers at Oklahoma State University.

“Oklahoma policymakers and businesses need to be ready to take advantage of this shift,” said Andrew Ranson, director of OSU's Wes Watkins Center for International Trade Development (CITD). “Oklahoma can make strong gains in trade if we are ready to capitalize on this opportunity.”

Ranson said the center's new report sought to raise two main questions.

"Are there areas where Oklahoma is currently exporting to the UK where, with those kinds of changes that are coming, there's an opportunity to grow those exports?" Ranson said, citing aircraft and aircraft parts as the largest sector of exports from Oklahoma to the UK currently.

"Are there things that we may not be doing significant amounts but that the UK is currently importing a great deal from the EU where, when those parameters change, there's things that we're also good at in Oklahoma that we may be able to tap into and explore those markets?" he said.

"As a large importer of food and food products, the United Kingdom might seem like a very attractive market for Oklahoma’s strong agricultural sector," the report reads, noting, however, "non-tariff barriers will be important to consider, but harder to work around, despite potential large changes in trade barriers with the EU. This factor may still leave the EU with an advantage in industries such as agriculture. If Oklahoma farmers want to take advantage of any new market opportunities in this regard, they will need to be adaptive."

The UK was Oklahoma's eight-largest export destination in 2019, according to the CITD.

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