Survey Shows that German Companies Doing business in the UK are Gloomy About Brexit

On Tuesday, a survey that was conducted by DIHK Chambers of Industry and Commerce of Germany showed that German firms that are performing trade in the United Kingdom are pessimistic regarding their prospects in the country, and some are even planning to relocate their operations to other markets.

The survey was responded by around 900 German firms that are operating in Britain. It showed that only 12 percent anticipated an improvement in business prospects in the country, with 36 percent assuming a deterioration. The remaining fifty-two percent expected no change.

In a statement, Eric Schweitzer, the President of DIHK, said: “Almost a year before the departure from the EU, the consequences of Brexit are a barely calculable risk.

“That is unsettling many German businesses.”

Schweitzer added that the specific consequences of Brexit for their businesses were still not clear to half of the firms that participated in the survey. He appealed to the UK government to set out reference points regarding a future relationship as soon as possible.

Eight percent of those that were surveyed with investments in the United Kingdom already has plans to relocate operations elsewhere because of Brexit. Schweitzer associated this to companies perceiving a risk of increasing costs because of customs levies and new layers of bureaucracy.

He stated: “In my estimation, the sword of Damocles of a no deal still hangs menacingly over our bilateral economic relations.”

Schweitzer added: “In addition to swift clarity on Brexit, the EU and the (German) government must also ensure that the internal market for the remaining EU 27 countries is further strengthened.”

On Tuesday, Liam Fox, the trade minister of Britain, warned that staying in a customs union with the European Union after Brexit would leave the country in a worse position compared to the present situation, calling the prospect “a sellout of Britain’s national interests.”

The extent of any post-Brexit involvement of the United Kingdom in a customs union – which unites its members into a trade bloc with common external tariffs – has developed as one of the key issues of the discussions between the two main political parties of Britain.