LONDON, Dec 14 (Reuters) – Brexit could hit trade relations
between Britain and the U.S, with nearly 40 percent of American
firms considering moving their British office to the EU and
two-thirds saying the vote is impacting investment choices,
according to a survey.
Food and beverage, life sciences and financial services
firms were most likely to consider relocating whilst aerospace
firms were the least likely, the survey by law firm Gowling WLG
Nearly all the 533 companies surveyed said they would
require some third-party support to deal with the transition as
Britain leaves the European Union, potentially risking part of
the close transatlantic relationship between the two nations.
“The strong UK-U.S. trade relationship that has been
carefully nurtured over the past fifty years is in serious
jeopardy,” said Bernardine Adkins, the firm’s Head of EU, Trade
“Concerns that Brexit will have an effect on current
investment decisions mean this needs addressing now, not later,”
But U.S. fast-food chain McDonald’s said last week
that it would move its international tax base to Britain from
Luxembourg after coming under increased scrutiny from European
Union regulators over its tax arrangements in the small country.
President-elect Donald Trump has also hailed Brexit and said
that Britain would not be “back of the queue” for a bilateral
trade deal with the United States, opposing comments made by
President Obama ahead of the referendum.
British ministers have been meeting top executives from a
range of key sectors in recent months as they prepare for formal
divorce talks which are due to begin by the end of March.
One of the thorniest issues will be how to restrict freedom
of movement in order to bring down immigration, a key concern
for many Brexit voters, whilst retaining unfettered access to
the single market, fundamental to many businesses.
A third of U.S. business leaders whose firms export to the
EU said that two years of regulatory uncertainty as divorce
talks unfold could harm them and just over half said they might
bypass Britain to do business directly with the European Union.
Gowling WLG surveyed 533 executives from U.S. companies with
a turnover of 10 million pounds or more between Sept. 21 and
(Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison)
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