According to Dutch Government Officials, more than 250 companies based in Britain are in touch with them to move their businesses out of UK to the country. As Britain is set to leave the EU customs union and the single market, companies are concerned about the loss of access to the trade bloc’s single market.
Most of the high profile companies employing thousands of workers in Britain have already announced plans to shift their bases to EU member countries to ensure the access to single market post-Brexit. Japanese Electronics giant Sony specifically cited Brexit as reason for shifting to Netherlands. Last year in December, Panasonic the shift of its headquarters to Amsterdam, for tax purposes.
Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) spokesman Michiel Bakhuizen told AFP News Agency that the number of companies in talks with the agency for a possible shift is growing. He said that the level uncertainty in Britain has worried many companies and that there is a phenomenal rise in the number of companies in talks for a possible arrival, from 80 at the start of 2017 to 250 now.
Netherlands is in an advantageous position by being better prepared for Brexit than the UK. The Benelux country has advanced its plans to recruit additional 1000 border officials to deal with the potential bureaucratic and customs disruption. Apart from Private businesses, the UK is also losing European Medicines Agency employing around 900 skilled workers.
UK’s premier business organization Confederation of Business Industry (CBI) in October 2018 conducted a survey which found that majority of UK businesses have formalized Brexit contingency plans which they are planning to start in December. The survey found that 30% of contacted businesses will relocate production and services abroad and 56% plan to make adjustments to their supply chains.
Carolyn Fairburn, director general of CBI warned at the time that if Britain fails to agree on a viable Brexit-deal by December, business firms will start their contingency plans prompting more job losses and shift in supply chain.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has stood by her decision to take UK out of the EU despite warnings from business leaders. The Tory leader said that any closer economic arrangement with the EU will betray the 2016 referendum result. The Labor party disagrees and believes that UK should follow EU’s industrial standards and also have a customs union with the Bloc. In 2016 many companies warned the disastrous consequences of Brexit, some businesses supported the decision. Dyson, who was one the prominent Brexit backers have surprised UK government by its plans to move the business to Singapore. UK’s International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said at the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday that despite the Brexit uncertainty, UK is open for business and an attractive investment destination.