An official document predicting a “three-month meltdown” at UK ports unable to cope with extra checks after Brexit, has been dismissed as scaremongering by Downing Street, while a senior retail executive Logistics Middle East spoke to said the impact to the Middle East will be mild.
“We may have to go without Bakewell tarts and other uniquely British goods for a short while, but in the short-term the region will be able to source most goods from elsewhere if there are delays in the UK,” the executive, who asked not to be named, said.
The leaked document, detailing preparations under Operation Yellowhammer (the UK government’s codename for Brexit preparations) predicts a no-deal Brexit would lead to food, medicine and petrol shortages, as well as return to a hard border in Ireland.
Protests could break out across the UK, requiring significant police intervention, and two oil refineries could close, with thousands of job losses, according to the documents.
The impact of these scenarios in the Middle East market will be indirect.
Annual trade between Dubai and the UK is worth around US $9.6 billion, and the UAE as a whole is Britain’s sixth biggest overseas market (counting all EU countries as one), while the UK is the fourth largest import partner for the UAE.
The UK’s principal exports to Dubai include telecommunications, power generation equipment, electrical goods, transport equipment, office machinery, and home and consumer goods according to Chamber International.