Report: Companies in U.K. Brace for a Messy Brexit

December 07, 2017 at 2:00 AM

Companies in multiple industries are making plans to survive the likelihood that the U.K. will exit the EU in 2019 with no interim trade deal in place, Reuters reports.

Carmakers with operations in Britain have been signaling for months that they may soon suspend investment decisions pending clarification of the U.K.’s plans. Reuters says manufacturers in the meantime are looking for ways to establish their own trading certifications with the EU after Britain exits the alliance.

England had hoped to reach agreement with the EU on Dec. 14 to move their Brexit talks to the next phase. But Reuters says that may not happen after negotiations stalled on Monday in a dispute about the Northern Ireland border.

Prime Minister Theresa May has been trying to reach agreement with the EU on a two-year transition plan that would bring more certainty to the British economy until the two parties can reach a final agreement on a post-Brexit trading plan.

But multiple executives in the U.K.’s financial services sector, which represents about 12% of the economy, tell Reuters it’s already too late for an interim deal. They say they have no choice but to begin restructuring now. Manufacturing giants tell the news service they face the same decision.

Reuters says Honda Motor Co., for one, may expand its warehouse capacity in Britain to stockpile parts and vehicles in case of post-Brexit border delays with the EU. Honda produces about 8% of the U.K.’s cars at its factory in Swindon, whose largest market is mainland Europe.