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article imageBleak perceptions of Brexit for British business

By Tim Sandle     Jun 26, 2018 in Business
London - A number of British business are getting nervous about the Brexit process. Airbus, BMW and Siemens have each warned about the impact on their U.K.-based operations if the U.K. leaves the EU in March 2019 without any agreement.
The Brexit negotiations remain clouded and extended, with the March 20198 clock ticking. The government's bottom line is a so-called "hard Brexit" or "no deal Brexit", where all trade relations with the European Union are effectively severed. This means the U.K. would not stay in the single market and neither would it remain inside any customs union.
Industry concerns
This stance is making some British based companies nervous. Recently the chief executive of Siemens U.K., Jürgen Maier, called for a Brexit deal that would not hit the flow of trade between the U.K. and mainland Europe.
Following this car giant BMW and plane-maker Airbus have both expressed similar concerns. BMW UK boss Ian Robertson says clarity is needed by the end of the summer, telling the BBC: "If we don't get clarity in the next couple of months we have to start making those contingency plans... which means making the UK less competitive than it is in a very competitive world right now."
Airbus has published a risk assessment outlining the urgent risks to its business arising from the U.K. exiting the European Union without a withdrawal agreement. In the report the company states that if the U.K. exited the EU next year without a deal this would "lead to severe disruption and interruption of U.K. production".
Maverick politician
The response from senior government figures has not been overly sympathetic to these business interests. Boris Johnson, for example, allegedly uttered an expletive, something that he later clarified by stating that he may have "expressed scepticism about some of the views of those who profess to speak up for business". This apparently led to a private rebuke by Prime Minister Theresa May, according to Sky News.
Uncertainly for growth
The Airbus, BMW and Siemens concerns do appear to be widely shared by other industries, according to new polls released this week. There are several surveys on the impact of the U.K.'s exit from the European Union, such as "The Bloomberg Brexit Barometer", which is a custom index designed to show how the U.K. economy is responding to the Brexit process. This poll is made up of indicators for employment, inflation, growth and uncertainty, and the latest state-of-play is not overly optimistic from the business perspective.
Higher priced medicines?
An alternative survey comes from the trade association - the Ethical Medicines Industry Group (EMIG) - and it is called the "EMIG Brexit Barometer". This is a survey of EMIG member companies to monitor perceptions of the impact of Brexit on the UK pharmaceutical industry. This survey found that 68 percent of respondents have little or no confidence that the government will obtain a ‘good’ deal for the U.K. pharmaceutical industry. Furthermore, for taxpayers and patients, 64 percent of those polled think not delivering a ‘good’ deal will result in higher prices for medicines and medical devices.
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