UK and German businesses are taking control of their future relationship post-Brexit

UK and German businesses are taking control of their future relationship post-Brexit

The first British-German Business Exchange took place last week in London

Indecision continues to plague parliament as the Brexit process becomes increasingly complicated. It has become clear that ongoing uncertainty is having an impact on UK businesses, as well as EU businesses who have located some of their resources in the UK.

As a unanimous decision has yet to be made by parliament, UK and German businesses have taken matters into their own hands—they have made a plan to meet regularly in order to mitigate Brexit.

“The conference came up with some clear conclusions, which everyone involved in British-German trade should take seriously.”

This announcement was made today, according to Blick Rothenberg, as Theresa May travels to Berlin to meet with German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

The purpose of these frequent meetings will be to establish a way in which trade can continue to work between the two countries, with as little disruption to their industries as possible, regardless of the eventual outcome of Brexit.

Blick Rothenberg stated: “The decision to set up an ongoing forum on British-German business needs was made after German and UK business leaders met for the first British-German Business Exchange Conference (BGBEC) in London last week to discuss future business relations.”

The conference was organised by the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany; it was attended by senior British and German politicians, business executives from large corporates, and media representatives.

“The UK’s exit from the EU will ultimately mean less political influence on various EU policies, including trade.”

Andreas Meyer-Schwickerath, director of the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany, said: “At the BGBEC in London last week, we started an excellent new platform for British and German businesses to share their experiences and views in a dramatically changing business environment. The conference came up with some clear conclusions, which everyone involved in British-German trade should take seriously.”

Here are the three main conclusions that came from the BGBEC:

  1.  The UK needs to remain a member of the EU Customs Union, no matter what: Trading between the two countries heavily relies on a stable supply chain of goods between the UK and the EU. It is concerning to both German and UK businesses to think of the impact of an exit from the EU Customs Union. Such disruption to the existing supply chains would significantly increase costs for businesses. Furthermore, German companies that have significant investments in the UK might be forced to “make decisions they don’t really want to make.”
  2. The UK needs to remain involved in the EU Single Market for Goods: As it stands, the EU Single Market for Goods involves 500 million consumers and 21 million SMEs. Trading within this market is effective, and is essential for the growth of enterprises, as well as inward investment. It also more easily allows for standardised guidelines for the likes of product specifications. An exit from this ecosystem would be another weighty burden for businesses from both countries to endure.
  3. An effort should be made to combat the impact the potential end to the free movement for workers could have: Freedom of movement for workers is “one of the founding principles of the EU and is a fundamental right of workers”. The end of such a policy between the UK and the EU could damage the talent pool of prospective workers coming into the UK—however, more importantly, it could mean that EU workers in the UK lose fundamental rights they possessed before Brexit.

The co-chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany is a Blick Rothenberg partner, Alex Altmann.

“It is essential that UK and German businesses make this work in everyone’s interest, and they will ensure that companies are regularly updated on the best way forward.”

“The UK’s exit from the EU will ultimately mean less political influence on various EU policies, including trade,” Altmann said.

“The private sector will have to create new forums in all sorts of areas to continue and enhance the dialogue between the UK and the EU. The BGBEC creates that forum for participants in British-German trade and, at the moment, that is critical.”

He continued: “UK and German business leaders will keep in close contact over the coming days and weeks, and the BGBEC will be held on a regular basis in the UK to offer businesses a new forum to share their experiences with British-German trade.”

“It is essential that UK and German businesses make this work in everyone’s interest, and they will ensure that companies are regularly updated on the best way forward,” Altmann concluded.

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