Ongoing uncertainty about the future of UK-EU relations is already having a significant impact on EU27 businesses, while the UK is seeing reduced trade and investment and fewer skills crossing the Channel, according to Baker McKenzie’s recent survey. Sebastian Shehadi reports.

Three days after Airbus warned it could leave the UK if it exits the EU without a transition deal, Baker McKenzie has released the sombre results of its survey of 800 business leaders in six key EU27 markets.

Almost half of the respondents said their company has already reduced investment in the UK since the Brexit vote. Meanwhile, 54% of EU27 business leaders believe they have not been substantively consulted on Brexit negotiations; 53% think their views are not well represented.

Additionally, more than three quarters see no upside to Brexit, rising to 97% in Ireland. Assuming Brexit happens, EU27 businesses support a free trade agreement with the UK over a customs union.

More than a third of respondents would like to see the UK punished under the terms of any future trade deal, but three quarters say the EU should also make concessions to the UK to secure a functioning trading relationship.

As part of the survey, Baker McKenzie interviewed 250 skilled workers from the EU currently working in the UK for companies that are either FTSE250 or have a revenue that exceeds £50m per annum.

The implications for the UK’s pool of foreign talent are ominous: 70% of respondents said they feel more vulnerable to discrimination since the Brexit referendum, while 56% said they were likely or highly likely to leave the UK before the outcome of the Brexit negotiations is known. This is unsurprising since 69% of respondents believe Brexit uncertainty would affect their ability to secure a mortgage or other bank loan.

Baker McKenzie surveyed 800 respondents across six major EU27 markets: France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden and Ireland. The firm spoke to senior in-house counsel, heads of strategy and finance directors in four sectors: consumer goods and retail; financial services; industrial, manufacturing and transportation; and technology, media and telecommunications.

All respondents surveyed work at businesses with at least £250m or equivalent annual turnover, while 32% of respondents are from businesses with more than £1bn annual turnover.

This article is sourced from fDi Magazine
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