Some 500 businesses have looked to switch operations to countries inside the European Union after new Brexit trading arrangements came into force, an Observer report has revealed.
A “stampede” of UK-based and UK-owned companies have made inquiries about setting up branches, depots or warehouses in the Netherlands alone, for “Brexit-related reasons”.
The figures have been compiled by government unit the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, which said that while most of the firms were already based in the UK, a minority were new companies from the US and Asia which had investigated a UK move, but had decided against investing here because of Brexit.
This is Orwellian. Brexiters and their slavish press chirrup nonsense about the buccaneering opportunities for Global Britain as firms stampede to set up in the EU. Incredible. Good on the Observer. UK firms plan to shift across Channel after Brexit chaos https://t.co/nMWmme3ygi— Will Hutton (@williamnhutton) January 30, 2021
Lyne Biewinga, of the Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce, said she and her team had been working “night and day” on inquiries from UK companies in recent weeks.
Elsewhere Austria’s economic affairs minister, Margarete Schramböck, also said inquiries from UK companies about moving to her country – which had been high for several years – had increased threefold since 1 January.
“We have a lot of companies approaching us to come to Austria. From the UK it is three times higher than before,” Schramböck told the Observer.
“It is all different kind of companies. It is IT companies, companies interested in R&D who are searching for a location in the EU. We have a special programme to help them and that is good for us. It had already started prior to Brexit but it has increased since Brexit, especially for small- and medium-sized companies.
“It is because they are not part of the European Union any more and they [now] have barriers. Even if there is a trade agreement they fear that the barriers will hinder them to do business inside the European Union.
“It is always good to be close to your customer and in this case the European market is a single market, so if you want to sell to the European market you have to have an imprint there.”