Blog: Netherlands cashing in on Brexit as ‘£461million’ created by UK businesses flocking to EU – Daily Express

Netherlands cashing in on Brexit UK business flocks to EU

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The Netherlands has seen a vast amount of investment from UK business, which have flocked to the continent in the wake of Brexit, a new investigation has found. It comes as the UK and Brussels continue to eyeball each other over a series of details contained in the exit deal, including the Northern Ireland Protocol. The European Commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič this weekend called on Brexit Minister Lord David Frost to end what he called his “political posturing” over negotiations on Northern Ireland.

Heated talks over a dispute on checks and controls on goods going from Great Britain to Northern Ireland surfaced earlier this year when the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) officially came into effect.

It set out arrangements in areas such as trade in goods and services, digital trade and fisheries, among other things, and is underpinned by the safeguarding of a level playing field and respect for fundamental rights between the two powers.

For many businesses, the most important aspect of the TCA was the continuation of free trade.

However, according to a recent investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches, a portion of small to medium sized UK businesses are no longer able to trade freely with Europe.

Brexit news: The Netherlands has cashed in on UK businesses flocking to the EU

Brexit news: The Netherlands has cashed in on UK businesses flocking to the EU (Image: GETTY)

Maroš Šefčovič: The European Commission vice-president had sharp words for Lord Frost

Maroš Šefčovič: The European Commission vice-president had sharp words for Lord Frost (Image: GETTY)

This is because of the introduction of a slew of new administrative and customs costs.

New customs declarations alone are believed to add around £15billion on to UK-EU trade, the charges affecting UK exporters and EU importers.

This has led many in the UK who own small to medium-sized businesses to relocate to the EU in order to continue frictionless trade.

Harry Wallop, Dispatches’ presenter, travelled to the Netherlands to talk to UK-based retailer British Corner Shop after it secured a Dutch distribution hub this year.

The Dutch government’s Foreign Investment Agency says it has never experienced so much interest from British firms seeking to open up a base in the Netherlands like British Corner Shop.

Hilde van der Meer, a commissioner at the agency, told Mr Wallop that the Netherlands was experiencing a “large influx of British companies since Brexit”.

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EU customs: New rules have seen UK businesses subject to new administrative costs

EU customs: New rules have seen UK businesses subject to new administrative costs (Image: GETTY)

She said: “We are in talks with about 600 companies.

“In the past year, around 6,000 jobs have been created and will be filled in the years to come.

“Money-wise, we’ve generated €550million (£461million).”

Mr Wallop asked: “So over half a billion euros has been created by British companies coming over here and investing in the Netherlands?” to which Ms van der Meer replied: “Yep, it’s a large sum of money.

“And it’s a lot of jobs.”

She went on to add that Brexit has been “good news” for the Dutch economy.

A Government spokesperson told Dispatches: “The zero tariff quota deal with the EU means we can now regulate in a way that suits the UK economy and UK businesses doing things in a more innovative and effective way, without being bound by EU rules, and seize trade opportunities around the world.”

While it is true that the new opportunities could benefit British businesses, many appear eager to trade as they did before January 1, 2021.

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The Netherlands: The country has experienced a 'large influx' of small and medium sized businesses

The Netherlands: The country has experienced a ‘large influx’ of small and medium sized businesses (Image: Channel 4)

Freight: New freight costs have also hit UK businesses sending products to the EU

Freight: New freight costs have also hit UK businesses sending products to the EU (Image: GETTY)

By June this year, almost a third of British companies that traded with the EU had suffered a decline or loss of business since post-Brexit took effect.

A survey carried out by the Institute of Directors (IoD) for the Financial Times found that 17 percent of UK companies that previously traded with the EU have stopped — either temporarily or permanently — since the start of the year.

Jonathan Geldart, director-general of the Institute of Directors, told the FT: “Small and medium-sized firms in particular are struggling to navigate new procedures around exporting and importing with the bloc, while business leaders are more broadly reporting difficulties in recruiting following an end to freedom of movement.”

The IoD survey asked 651 companies to give their assessment of the impact of Brexit up until that point.

Of those that traded with the EU, 31 percent said new barriers had had a negative impact on commerce with the bloc.

Trade landscape: What the trading landscape now looks like in Europe

Trade landscape: What the trading landscape now looks like in Europe (Image: Express Newspapers)

Just six percent said trade had increased, while 58 percent stated there was no change.

Financial firms have also eyed-up the EU.

In April, more than 400 financial firms had moved at least some of their operations, staff, assets or legal entities from Britain to Europe.

Despite the fallout, some businesses could experience an uptick in trade.

Manufactures like automakers rely heavily on other regions of the world outside the UK and Europe for parts in their finished products.

Livestock: Businesses that deal with livestock have been hit particularly hard with red tape

Livestock: Businesses that deal with livestock have been hit particularly hard with red tape (Image: GETTY)

But a section of the TCA states that all products must prove the origin of all their constituent parts when traded between the UK and EU.

It means that manufacturers will now have to source their goods in these fields from within the UK and EU.

Businesses in those places may now experience a boom in demand for parts.

However, this could drive up the price for consumers.

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