The UK might have the option to participate in the following post-Brexit models:
- Membership of the European Economic Area (EEA)
The UK would participate in the EU internal market, be a member of EFTA but would not have access to the EU Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). The four fundamental freedoms would remain – free movement of goods, services, people and capital. The UK would be outside the VAT territory of the EU. However, the freedom of movement of people to come to the UK from the EU goes hand in hand with the other freedoms and it is unlikely “people movement” could be divorced from the other freedoms. Norway has the right to be a party to the EEA agreement and is a member of EFTA also.
2. Membership of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
The UK would participate in EFTA free trade agreements while remaining outside the EU VAT territory. The Uk could negotiate a bilateral trade agreement with the EU. Switzerland is a member of EFTA but is not a party to the EEA agreement.
3. The UK goes “Independent”
The UK would not be part of any customs free trade area or trade association and would also be outside the VAT territory of the EU. The UK would be excluded from all FTAs agreed by the EU and EFTA but could negotiate bilateral trade treaties with the EU and other major trading countries or “blocks”.
The UK needs to do a lot of homework in the interim to decide exactly which type of post-Brexit model would suit it because are soon as article 50 is triggered negotiations with the EU are expected to commence.