Grand though it sounds, all that triggering Article 50 means is that the PM will send written notification to the President of the European Council. This starts a process that must be concluded within two years. At least, that’s the theory. Practice, however, might be different.
Article 50 is surprisingly brief, See http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A12012M050
There are pundits aplenty who seem to suggest this or that will/must happen because it is written somewhere, or it is not. The main problem for those who wish to predict is that no one has previously left the EU and therefore the process is new to both sides. What is true is that for us in email marketing our legal requirements and constraints will remain the same for the negotiating period and probably beyond.
Ms May has stated that the notification will be sent by the end of the month and despite some suggesting this week, the Belgium elections, with anti-EU campaigner Wilders in the mix, would be insensitive at best.
Many have suggested that sterling will take a hit, the degree in dispute. It is likely that the triggering has already been taken into account although it’s impossible to be certain.
Longer term it would appear that other factors might come into play. For instance, if, as widely forecast, the USA increases interest rates later this year, the exchange rate will be affected significantly. The pound will probably drop, with some predictions being around $1.05 to the GBP. Others suggest the rate won’t go that far down but no one is predicting a return to the pre referendum days of $1.50.
Also there will be fluctuations during the two years of negotiations although no one can say what will trigger them, perhaps leaks with regards the negotiations or troubled times for necessary legislation. Whilst it seems that the UK negotiators might not want to publish details of ongoing deliberations, the decision might well be removed from them.
There have been dire warnings about the long process of trade negotiations, the eight years for Canada to conclude CETA being mentioned. However, much of the time was spent in discussions on compliance with regulatory standards. The UK conforms at the moment so, as long as there are no disruptions to the passage of the legislation transferring the regs, it should be much quicker for the UK.
We are at the mercy of the market. Most commentators are opting for an irregular drop in the pound, of a careful buying public and difficult trading condition.
However, you will need plans to cope with increasing import costs, and ways of exploiting a sudden, and maybe unexpected, rate fluctuation. With regards to longer term arrangements, the UK is not in a weak position. We are a big export market for the EU and although it might not be true that they have more to lose than us, it is clear that they will suffer as many difficulties as the UK will when the final deal is done. The press releases are already muddying the waters, with £billions being mentioned by both sides. So it has started as many suggested it might.