In 2016, the UK made the monumental decision to leave the European Union. And, while the Britain will undoubtedly be disproportionately affected, the impact is not limited to its borders. The changes to trade, movement and information sharing will have far-reaching repercussions.

To understand how Brexit is viewed in Latin America, Brands2Life Global partner Sherlock Communications, in partnership with TolunaInsights, embarked on the first study of its kind analysing the reactions of its six largest economies: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Mexico and Peru.

Brex-what?

The survey indicated a level of confusion and certain apathy to Brexit among many in the region, with strong business confidence in the UK’s trade potential after leaving the European Union. In fact, nearly two-thirds of business owners and decision makers predict Britain will be “stronger” internationally after leaving the EU.

Professor Dr Amancio Vinhas Nunes, a professor in international trade at the University of São Paulo commented that, as EU bureaucracy has been smothered in trade negotiations with Mercosur, the UK can benefit by offering a simpler approach. “The agreement with the EU has lots of rules, whereas an agreement with the UK could be more focused on commerce and investment,” he commented. “The fact they believe it will be easier to negotiate with the UK alone has everything to do with the complexity of these agreements. It could indeed be easier as the scope of the agreement would be reduced.”

Impact of brand Brexit

But while British business acumen is well poised in Latin America, almost a quarter of respondents admitted they had decided against buying British in the past year because of the country’s treatment of immigrants. The fact that 22.7% of Latin American consumers have shunned British produce over of the country’s controversial treatment of immigrants could represent a significant loss for UK trade, particularly given the six economies in the study represent $14.7 billion (£11.16 bn) in trade with UK.

In response to the findings, Patrick O’Neill, Managing Partner of São Paulo-based Sherlock Communications, commented: “The research shows clearly that there’s huge positive feeling in Latin America towards Britain and ‘Brand Britain’, however it would be wrong for British businesses to rely solely on this heritage.”

“It’s hugely important that UK and British companies communicate clearly in Latin American markets, especially with the uncertainty that Brexit has awoken. British companies and the British Government need to reassure people about the future, and the advantages of trade with post-Brexit Britain.”

To dig deeper into how Brexit is likely to affect the different economies with Sherlock’s interactive trade map, check out the original blog here.