connect with us

Brexit Countdown :

249Days 11Hours 03Minutes 07Seconds

Express: Multinationals don’t care about Britain – but are trying to dictate our future

Date: 02 07 2018

Multinationals don’t care about Britain – but are trying to dictate our future

WHEN the Business Secretary Greg Clark said at a recent CEO summit that, in his experience, business is normally impartial and deals with practicality, he is generally correct. Of course this supposition always has to be framed by the knowledge that business will naturally act in its own interests and individual businesses will act in their own narrow, vested interests.

By JOHN LONGWORTH CO-CHAIRMAN OF LEAVE MEANS LEAVE

However, we are not living in normal times and some parts of the business community will view their long term interests in the light of protectionism and, worse, currying favour with political masters in their homelands in the case of foreign multinationals, and with the EU establishment in general.

If the reader believes this to be unlikely or fanciful, then read on.

The recent behaviour of companies like Airbus and BMW (albeit the latter appears to have backtracked on the threatened relocation of factories) is a stark example, particularly since their rationale has been one sided and disingenuous, in fact, irrational. 

Take the Airbus case first of all.

They claimed that they may relocate in the event of a “hard” (no such thing) World Trade Organisation global trade Brexit, possibly relocating to China or the Far East or somewhere in EU. As many of these locations are outside EU, what is the logic unless they wanted an excuse to do it anyway? It certainly can have nothing to do with Brexit.

Furthermore, given that they would find it difficult to find the advanced technology skills to make wings elsewhere, as the expertise is in the UK, the threat appears to be a paper tiger – Project Fear 2.0.

Airbus claims one of their motivations is uncertainty. However, the best way to secure certainty is to declare now for WTO terms and prepare in earnest to leave in March 2019, but it is Remainers like Airbus that have been frustrating this.

Airbus claim they want to remain in the Customs Union (CU) in order to avoid costs and yet tariffs on aeronautical products are zero and even if they had not been, tariffs on components are only charged once, however complex the supply chain.

Non-tariff barriers are already dealt with easily on a daily basis with components entering and leaving the EU under WTO rules. Most trade in the world and trade with the EU is conducted in this way, under existing WTO rules.

This is classic of a foreign multinational that clearly cares less about the UK but is trying to dictate our future. Airbus is intrinsically wrapped up in the EU. Two major shareholders are the German and French governments. Its Global CEO, a former German Army officer, is a senior figure in the secretive Bilderberg Group, a favourite haunt of one George Osborne and whose recent meeting concentrated on destroying “populism”, otherwise known as democracy, in the interests of the global elite.

The arguments put forward by businesses like BMW are equally risible for many of the same reasons.

Speaking to businesses in the supply chain of auto manufacturers, it quickly becomes clear that the trade associations have concentrated only on the negative aspects of Brexit.

For example, in talking of complex supply chains, no account has been taken of the fact that the UK can choose to remove tariffs on raw materials or components post-Brexit, provided we are not in the CU or Single Market (SM). This can be done through trade deals, or unilaterally, and will make UK car production even more cost effective as no longer will German component and auto manufacturers be able to treat Britain as “treasure island” with inflated prices.

We may of course decide to retain tariffs on finished cars which would mean that continental produced vehicles will be more expensive, leading to more purchases of more competitively priced cars produced in the UK. British produced cars will still be cheaper when exported to the continent than they were on referendum day given our competitive currency.