British companies warn of departure after Brexit if no customs transition

By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |  June 22, 2018 at 3:15 PM
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June 22 (UPI) -- BMW and Airbus have joined multiple companies that warned they may have to relocate outside of Britain should leaders there not remain in the EU Customs Union or offer a transition deal as part of Brexit.

On Thursday, Airbus said that if Britain left the EU single market and customs, it would "lead to severe disruption and interruption of UK production."

In the EU Customs Union, no customs duties are levied on goods traveling within the bloc and each member state imposes the same tariff on all goods entering the union.

Both British Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond said they intend to pull Britain out of the EU Customs Union as part of Brexit.

BMW UK head Ian Robertson said Friday his company needs to make plans in case Britain withdraws from the customs union.

"If we don't get clarity in the next couple of months we have to start making those contingency plans - which means investing money in systems that we might not need... which means making the UK less competitive than it is in a very competitive world right now," he said.

BMW, along with BP, Nestle and Vodafone called for a trade deal with the EU that is as "frictionless as with a customs union."

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank warned it may have to relocate its 4,000 London workers to Frankfort, and insurance company Chubb said it would move its EU headquarters out of London if Britain leaves the customs union.

Britain is expected to formally leave the European Union on March 29, 2019.

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