Tag: Battling

Battling Brexit, some British firms turn to invest in Europe

MANCHESTER, England, July 5 (Reuters) – Sick of customs delays and extra bureaucracy since Britain left the European Union, Farrat, a small manufacturer on the edge of Manchester, is ramping up investment to compensate – in Germany.

The maker of anti-vibration parts for buildings and machinery is growing fast, almost doubling its headcount in the English city over the past five years, but it says Brexit is proving to be an obstacle.

“We are now channelling a lot of investment in setting up production facilities in Germany to remove the trading friction,” said chief executive Oliver Farrell. “Brexit is materially restricting our growth now.”

The company is far from alone, according to a dozen conversations Reuters has had with company bosses, business groups and politicians across England over the course of 2023.

Economic data tell a similar story. German data show British firms opened 170 foreign direct investment projects in Europe’s biggest economy last year as companies sought a foothold in the bloc’s single market.

That’s a far cry from the 50 enquiries from British firms – rather than projects committed – recorded by German Trade & Invest in 2015, the year before the Brexit referendum.

Next door, the government in the Netherlands said over 300 “Brexit companies” – British firms it reckons are trying to sidestep trade friction – had moved operations there since 2016.

Business investment within Britain in early 2023, meanwhile, stood about 1% above its level at the time of the June 2016 vote, a reading some economists put down to uncertainty over EU trade ties.

Over the same period, business investment jumped 25% in France, 21% in the United States and rose 7% in Germany, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Pro-Brexit economists say such data ignore the fact British