ARGENTINA is looking to make a renewed bid to gain control of the Falkland Islands, as Britain pushes forward with its Brexit plans.
While the islanders have remained staunchly in favour of remaining British, they did not back Brexit in last June’s referendum.
The European Union (EU) is the main destination for the archipelago’s exports, mostly fish, which are worth about £178 million a year.
An estimated 70 per cent of the Falklands’ GDP is believed to rely on access to the EU market.
International Relations (CARI) Vicente Berasategui said: “The islanders lose the freedom to export to the European Union with no tariffs or quotas. The impact on trade could be important.”
In the past the countries in the EU have backed Britain’s right to sovereignty of the islands but that support could weaken after Brexit.
Mr Berasategui said: “European countries have so far backed Britain’s position [as sovereign power in the Falklands] because the islands are recognised as an overseas territory of the United Kingdom in the treaties of the European Union, but they also do not want to create problems in relations with Argentina.
Argentinians have protested outside the British embassy in Buenos Aires to demand Argentina break off diplomatic relations with the UK over the Falkland Islands war, as Argentina vows to fight for the Falklands.
“They will see that they no longer need to show that level of commitment, and that will have consequences.”
Prime Minister Theresa May has previously stated that she will seek to get the best possible access to EU markets despite leaving the bloc.
Falklands legislator Michael Poole said that London is working to “ensure that the outcomes from the Brexit process protect our interests.”
He added: “Our main goal is to see continued quota-free and tariff-free trade with the EU-27 countries.
“We do see potential opportunities for the islands in terms of the international trade agenda that the UK government will be looking at post-Brexit.
“Clearly there are large markets on our doorstep in South America, which we would like to trade with.
“Our focus would be Brazil as they have gaps in their production, which we believe we could play a small role in helping to fulfil, particularly in relation to meat exports.”
In the aftermath of the referendum, Argentinian President Mauricio Macri stressed that, with or without Brexit, Argentina’s demands on the islands it calls the Malvinas would “never change.”
Mr Macri said: “They endure over time and we hope that some day we can sit around a table to be able to profoundly discuss the issue.”
The Falkland Islands have been under British control since 1833.