Brexit: Big US companies warn about risks to investments in Britain
US companies with almost $600bn of investments in the UK are reviewing their plans for expansion in the UK amid worries over its post-Brexit access to the EU’s single market, the biggest US business lobby group has warned.
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The United Chamber of Commerce said Tuesday that although the United States has no direct role as London resets its relationship with Brussels, the American business community has a significant stake in the outcome.
US firms’ investments in Britain are worth nearly $590bn, employing roughly 1.2m Britons directly and millions more indirectly. Many of those investments were made to reach both British and other European consumers. US subsidiaries in the rest of Europe are equally interested in seeing minimal disruption to their supply chains and business ties across the Channel.
As such, the US business community has the right and the responsibility to share its perspective on the UK-EU negotiations. The long-term implications of the outcome of these talks for US investments in Britain — with significant impacts on US firms’ British employees and British taxes — will be substantial. Drawing on decades of experience doing business in the UK, the concerns of these US-headquartered companies should be taken into account in the debates that lie ahead.
The Financial Times says the warning follows similar warnings from the Japanese business community.
It says the warnings highlights the delicate balance that Theresa May’s government faces to retain foreign investors’ confidence while working to deliver on the wishes of the majority of UK voters who opted to leave the EU in June.
The US Chamber of Commerce, in a document due to be presented to the UK’s Cabinet Office this week, warns that a post-Brexit UK would need “unfettered access” to the European market in goods and services to retain and attract US investments.
The US business community has identified seven priorities for the UK-EU negotiations.