Brexit: 40 European business lobbies warn of threat

Japanese business group to take issue with ‘no Brexit deal is better than a bad deal’

Brexit warnings from business groups come amid rising public recognition by companies of their fears over  a hard Brexit

Brexit warnings from business groups come amid rising public recognition by companies of their fears over a hard Brexit

 

Overseas companies that invest in the UK issued a flurry of warnings on Tuesday about the threat Brexit poses to their businesses, signalling their growing concern as the UK prepares to start the formal process of leaving the EU.

Some 40 European business lobbies representing companies in 34 countries issued a statement calling for a post-Brexit settlement which would preserve the integrity of the single market, deliver a smooth transition and avoid creating “unnecessary” obstacles to trade and investment.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Keidanren, a powerful business group whose membership includes Toyota, Hitachi and other large Japanese investors in the UK, is preparing a communiqué taking issue with Mrs May’s “no Brexit deal is better than a bad deal” – a comment that has sent a chill through the boardrooms of Japanese companies that collectively employ 140,000 people in the UK.

“The key message is this: please negotiate with deeper consideration for the economy,” said a person who has seen a draft of Keidanren’s demands and policy proposals, which are expected to be released in early April.

Cliff edge

Other foreign investors, however, have struck a more positive note, with Deutsche Bank planning a move to new London headquarters in 2023, despite uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit negotiations. Siemens, one of the world’s largest engineering companies, reaffirming its commitment to the UK in at an event in Berlin on Monday. Siemens employs more than 15,000 in the UK.

The Brexit warnings from business group representatives came on the back of rising public recognition by individual companies of their fears over the impact of a hard Brexit that does not include a trade deal or transitional arrangements.