“Brexit makes goods deliveries to Great Britain more expensive”
“The UK is among Austria’s top 10 economic partners. The bilateral trade and service volume is around EUR 11 billion; Austrian companies invested EUR 7 billion in the UK, and employ around 40,000 people there. Therefore, it touches us when the British leave the European Union,” said Christoph Leitl, President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and the European Economic Chamber Eurochambers, at a press briefing in Vienna. Nevertheless, the Austrian economy would suffer only little damage from the exit of Great Britain.
“However the Brexit will be implemented, the domestic companies must expect serious consequences,” warned Christian Kesberg, Austrian business delegate in London. If the negotiations for a free trade agreement fail, the trade relations between Great Britain and the EU member states would fall back to WTO level, i.e. the trade in goods would have to be carried out as with any third country.
Even if there is a trade agreement in the best case and tariffs are thus largely kept to zero, deliveries of goods will become more expensive – for example, through longer transfer times and because customs procedure are obligatory for trade with third countries.
Difficulties could also arise with deliveries of goods that are on their way on the transport route or in a customs warehouse on the day of “Brexit”. The same applies to returns of goods that are returned after the deadline. “Companies need to prepare for all eventualities and start thinking about what to do. Many things can, but might not happen,” says Christian Kesberg.
At the same time, the business delegate pointed out that the opportunities for Austrian companies are intact when companies prepare for Brexit in good time: the United Kingdom remains the second most important economy in Europe. Austrian companies are relatively well protected there as niche players. And even according to WTO rules games can be won.
“For the Austrian and the European economy it is important that the economic damage of Brexit is reduced as much as possible and that there will be as much access to the British market as possible without bureaucracy and unjustified trade barriers in the future,” said Christoph Leitl. This is also in the interest of Britain, which handles about half of its foreign trade with the EU. On the other hand, only about five percent of EU external trade is in the United Kingdom.