Since Trump was elected US president, the world has been waiting to find out what impact this will have on just about everything. But what does Trump really mean for the UK tech industry?
With major global businesses playing a part in the UK technology industry, it is unclear exactly what Trump’s appointment means for us moving forward. However, speculation has already begun around areas such as trade and investment – factors which would directly influence the UK technology industry.
Looking back at Brexit, Obama warned that the UK would be at the “back of the queue” in terms of trade deals with the US should we vote to leave the EU, however Trump stood in support of the leave campaign from the beginning. Since winning the presidential election, it has been reported that during his first conversation with Theresa May, Trump said the relationship between the UK and the US would only go from “strength to strength”, with Theresa May wishing to “strengthen bilateral trade and investment with the US as we leave the EU”.
However, some experts believe the US will increase barriers and make it more difficult and more expensive for overseas businesses to import their goods and services to the US and around the world.
Trump has previously threatened to start a trade war with China and pull out of existing trade deals with other countries. If a trade war with China were to occur, this could result in a global increase in the cost of electronics manufactured by China. However, while Trump has stated he intends to impose tariffs on goods and services from many countries, the UK didn’t feature on the list of countries he has targeted. He’s also threatened to make companies take their manufacturing operations back to the US, which would obviously have a big impact on the UK economy let alone the technology industry.
Unpredictable changes like this affect the currency markets; the value of the pound dropped after Brexit causing a 20% increase in the price of Microsoft licences for UK businesses – could this be the first of many price hikes, in this turbulent market?
And, as everyone tries to figure out Trump’s plans and what his policies will be, the market could be volatile and less attractive to investors. Brexit introduced the idea of uncertainty, and Trump being elected president has undoubtedly exacerbated this, therefore investors could be less willing to take risks, particularly on UK technology start ups.