N.H. Companies and Experts Still Uncertain About Brexit's Impact on the Granite State

Jun 28, 2016

This week’s ‘Brexit’ – Britain’s high-profile vote to exit from the European Union – may shake up the European economy and politics for years to come. Here in the Granite State, though, there’s still uncertainty about what the impact will be.

“People are still very surprised and trying to figure out what to do. Companies are, at least locally, not that upset yet, are just sort of watching what’s going to happen. Because nobody does know what’s going to happen. There are a lot of things that need to be done and worked out,” founder and former director of International Trade Resource Center Dawn Wivell said on The Exchange this week.

Boston University political science professor Graham Wilson agreed that the United Kingdom will feel, by far, the biggest effect.

“It’s not as though we had some sort of epic event in the United States. I think that the rest of the world may feel a little tiny draft, but they can shrug that off. I think that the consequences for Great Britain are much, much greater, or potentially much greater,” Wilson said.

The biggest effects felt by the Granite State, especially at first, will relate to the exchange rate.

Trade expert Dawn Wivell said that a weak British pound will negatively affect the state’s export market, especially exports to the UK because it's such a big trading partner for New Hampshire.

“Whenever the dollar is strong, that affects exports - that makes our products more expensive,” Wivell said.

The exchange rate also adversely affects U.S. citizens living abroad. An NHPR listener currently living in Ireland wrote into The Exchange on Tuesday to describe how the economic turmoil is likely to affect her:

“As someone originally from N.H. and living in Ireland, this actually has real ramifications. I don't think N.H. people really get that. A short-term example, for me: U.S. student loan providers only accept U.S. dollars. Thus, I have to transfer funds to my American account every month to pay my bills. When the Euro to USD exchange rate drops (which happens, when the EU sees turbulence), I pay more each month for the same bills.”

Political science professor Graham Wilson pointed out that, on the other hand, American tourists looking to travel to the UK will find that the exchange rate is extremely favorable.

“The other side of this is that it’s a great time to go on vacation in Britain, if you’re traveling from the United States,” Wilson said.

The full Exchange conversation about Brexit and its impact on New Hampshire can be found here.