Almost every day in Britain, the consequences of the country’s approaching Brexit from the European Union are discussed publicly within business, government and social circles. Experts fear the costs to British industry could run into the billions of euros. But German businesses also have a lot to lose from a “hard Brexit,” the sudden withdrawal of Britain from the European common market, according to a new survey by Deloitte.
“The British market is the second-largest market in the European Union — no business that exports can afford to ignore Brexit,” said Alexander Börsch, the chief economist and head of research at Deloitte, in an interview with Handelsblatt. In recent years, the growth rates of German exports to Britain have risen dramatically, which is only raising the stakes for German firms. Despite the potential costs, many German companies are taking a dangerous wait-and-see attitude toward Britain’s departure from the E.U.
To be sure, the subject of Brexit is high on the agendas of many German exporters — but other companies in Europe’s largest economy should be paying more attention. “The more the negotiations proceed, the more visible the consequences of Brexit will become. Then the bargaining pressure will increase,” Mr. Börsch said.