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Brexit Could Benefit South Dakota Business


After Thursday’s vote to leave the European Union, the UK’s business future is still hazy. But for South Dakota, one expert thinks this new opportunity could result in further trade abroad.

The United Kingdom is South Dakota’s fifteenth largest trading partner. So the international relationship is a minor one for overall state business. Rock Nelson, the director of South Dakota’s International Trade Center, says the nine million dollars exported to the country last year includes valued added agricultural and manufactured products. Comparing trade between the UK and Europe, Nelson is interested to see how Great Britain’s independence may affect trading expenses.

“When Great Britain has now pulled out, they will be charging most likely a different duty rate for imported products that goes into the United Kingdom, and hopefully it’s as competitive as what the European Union has been," says Nelson.

Nelson realizes that the British stock markets have gone down since the vote, but he sees those settling and becoming normal. He thinks it’s too premature to see how the change will reflect on South Dakota, but he says the trading patterns should be similar to or better than current trends.

“If they want to be independent, they definitely feel they can better themselves by being so, and that might open opportunities for South Dakota manufacturers and food processors further increase their imports going into Great Britain. We just have to be patient, and just exporting there like we have in the past and maybe the demand will increase," says Nelson.

Nelson adds that other European countries might also leave the Union, so he recommends that South Dakota maintain its relationships with all trade partners despite potential conflict abroad.