Prague, Feb 17 : The possible exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union without an agreement may cost the Czech economy 0.5-1 per cent of GDP, Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek told reporters on Saturday.
"There are several possible scenarios. The most pessimistic options, of course, come from the 'no-deal' Brexit. Estimates indicate a weakening of the Czech economy at a level between 0.5 and 1 per cent of GDP. This is a very serious fall, so I believe that it is not in the interests of any of the parties that the UK withdraw from the EU without an agreement," Petricek said on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference.
According to the minister, the impact of such a scenario on the UK economy would be even more significant.
"The practical side of the 'hard' Brexit will be even more problematic. France is already preparing for immensely long convoys of trucks that will not be cleared by customs because there will be no documents on the basis of which this can be done," Petricek said.
Similar problems may arise also in air transportation and in other sectors, he noted.
"But I still hope that a decision will be found. There is still the possibility of postponing the scheduled withdrawal date [March 29] if the UK side asks for it," the minister noted.
According to the Czech Statistical Office, the United Kingdom is one of the most important partners for the country. It accounted for 4.9 per cent of total Czech exports in 2017, while UK share in Czech imports was 2.3 per cent.
According to the latest forecast of experts of the international consulting company Deloitte, the Czech economy is expected to grow by about 2.2 per cent in 2019.
The United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union on March 29. While London has managed to negotiate a withdrawal deal with Brussels after months of intense talks, the agreement has faced a wave of criticism in the United Kingdom and mounting calls for a second Brexit referendum, with the parliament so far refusing to endorse the deal.