Bendor Grosvenor has an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal wondering whether London can maintain its pre-eminent position as Europe’s art capital once the UK leaves the EU. The main issue is something as dull and complicated as an import value added tax:
the May government has yet to say whether it will negotiate on behalf of its art market for better terms of trade with the EU. Nor have Britain’s art-market leaders succeeded in building a public case for themselves, believing that cozy chats in ministerial offices are more effective than making a fuss. The British Art Market Federation has even been playing down the value of EU-U.K. art imports.
For now, Britain’s art market is safe. A weak pound has led to a small boom in London’s art auctions. And through a combination of tradition, solid British law and local expertise, the U.K.’s art-market leadership is difficult to challenge. But the real fear among U.K. art dealers and auctioneers is of a gradual decline in competitiveness.