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Business sounds alarm over Brexit 'chronic uncertainty'

Companies are heaping pressure on the British government to explain its plan for Brexit.Foreign automakers, Br...

Posted: Feb 8, 2018 8:40 PM
Updated: Feb 8, 2018 8:40 PM

Companies are heaping pressure on the British government to explain its plan for Brexit.

Foreign automakers, British banks and thousands of companies are urging Prime Minister Theresa May to provide clarity about future trade with the European Union.

"There is no room for continued ambiguity as companies make investment and hiring decisions," the British Chambers of Commerce wrote Wednesday in a letter to May.

"The government must set out its plans," added the group, which represents companies with 6 million workers.

Britain will leave the EU in just 13 months, but May's cabinet is still divided over how close a relationship the country should seek to retain with its biggest export market.

May meets senior ministers this week in an attempt to settle on a way forward, but she has been conspicuously silent even as businesses cry out for clarity.

Uncertainly is already dragging down the U.K. economy, which is now the slowest growing in Europe and the G7.

Related: The CNNMoney Brexit jobs tracker

May will also meet Thursday with investors and executives from Japan.

Many Japanese corporations have invested heavily in the U.K., including global banking giant Nomura and top automakers Toyota, Nissan and Honda.

Japan published a detailed list of its concerns about Brexit shortly after Brits voted in the EU referendum in 2016.

Japanese firms wanted reassurances that the U.K. would seek to limit any "harmful effects" on their businesses, according to the government document.

It warned that those with European headquarters in the U.K. may move those functions elsewhere in Europe "if EU laws cease to be applicable in the U.K. after its withdrawal."

Japan's foreign ministry confirmed Thursday that it stands by the memo.

The top European executive from Nissan, which employs nearly 7,000 people at the U.K.'s largest car factory, attended the meeting with May, along with representatives from Hitachi, Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, SoftBank and Mizuho.

Related: Britain's most painful Brexit choice is all about trade

Urgent requests for clarity are also being made on behalf of banks and financial services companies.

Nicky Morgan, a lawmaker who chairs the influential Treasury committee in the House of Commons, accused the government of throwing the sector into a "chronic state of uncertainty."

Many companies will begin to activate contingency plans for Brexit next month, but still don't know what the government hopes to achieve in terms of access to European markets, she said in a statement.

"The clock is ticking for the financial services industry," Morgan added.

Consulting firm Oliver Wyman estimates that 75,000 finance jobs could be lost in the long term if Brexit goes badly.

The U.K. government says it believes it can achieve "as frictionless as possible" trade with the EU because doing so is in the interest of both parties.

Even if top British politicians can settle on a preferred option, there's no guarantee it will be accepted by the EU.

"This is a crucial year for the Brexit negotiations and of course we will all be better informed, we hope, by certainly this time next year about the future trading relationship with the EU," Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Thursday.

-- Simon Cullen, Chris Liakos, Ivana Kottasov- and Yoko Wakatsuki contributed reporting.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 751526

Reported Deaths: 13799
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033281788
Lake557151010
Allen41710692
St. Joseph36998565
Hamilton36604417
Elkhart29413461
Tippecanoe22914227
Vanderburgh22559400
Porter19359326
Johnson18477389
Hendricks17689317
Clark13228195
Madison13158344
Vigo12625253
LaPorte12420221
Monroe12211176
Delaware10968198
Howard10337225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8577147
Bartholomew8172157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7812180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6972103
Morgan6765141
Dubois6221118
Marshall6211116
Cass6017110
Henry5902110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509176
Shelby501796
Lawrence4745122
Gibson445094
Clinton442755
Harrison441775
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438490
Whitley406643
Huntington403181
Steuben400259
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White332253
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Scott270156
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Washington246136
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Jennings235349
Spencer234631
Starke228058
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Sullivan214643
Owen212158
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Jay200932
Carroll193720
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Crawford102516
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Union72810
Ohio57911
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1109025

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287651467
Cuyahoga1158292211
Hamilton814131250
Montgomery525601043
Summit484401001
Lucas43364820
Butler39021606
Stark33339929
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Mahoning22378603
Lake21213388
Clermont20125253
Delaware18860136
Licking16664222
Fairfield16577204
Trumbull16555482
Medina15613271
Greene15284248
Clark14237306
Wood13293200
Portage13251215
Allen11914239
Richland11608211
Miami10850225
Wayne9147223
Columbiana9036230
Muskingum8907135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8651250
Marion8646138
Erie8057165
Ashtabula7162179
Hancock6999132
Ross6946161
Geauga6841151
Scioto6536106
Belmont6159174
Union584649
Lawrence5734102
Jefferson5680158
Huron5547122
Sandusky5443126
Darke5420129
Seneca5349128
Washington5320109
Athens524360
Auglaize502287
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4572112
Madison444466
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432174
Crawford4040110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3856105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359865
Williams348278
Champaign344859
Guernsey325153
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285550
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Henry273467
Holmes2703101
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Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148540
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
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