Your partner in British Dutch Business

On Wednesday 30 January the latest edition of the  NBCC Brexit Forum took place with the participation of the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Ms. Sigrid Kaag, at KPMG in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

“Who is well prepared for Brexit?” she asked the audience, which was comprised primarily  of entrepreneurs from the technological industries. There were far too few hands raised: “Time for action,” was her response.

We were delighted to see many of our members joining us at this event with thetarget of discussing the latest Brexit developments.

According to the results of the Brexit Industry Barometer, including more than 200 Dutch industrial companies, a hard Brexit would result in large delays at the border, more complex procedures and administrative hassles. The Barometer, an initiative of The Netherlands British Chamber of Commerce, KPMG Meijburg & Co, VNO-NCW and FME was held prior to the aforementionedBrexit event.

 The Barometer shows that 38% of industrial entrepreneurs are still focusing on the preparation they require for Brexit. Some 36% have started and only 17% have already completed it. Almost one in ten entrepreneurs has not even begun. Most entrepreneurs are concerned about delays at the border (19%). Then comes administration hassles (18%) and more complex customs procedures (18%). Around one in ten companies are worried about higher costs. Other concerns are: deviating regulations in the United Kingdom (8%), exchange rate risks (6%) and more difficulty travelling back and forth (6%). Only 7% see opportunities and are not worried. Furthermore, most of the industrial entrepreneurs need practical tips for Brexit (53%). Almost a third (27%) are looking for updates on the situation around Brexit. 16% of entrepreneurs are looking for experiences from others to deal with Brexit.

The danger of a no-deal - and therefore, hard - Brexit is huge for the technology industry, according to Ineke Dezentjé-Hamming of FME: "Because it remains unclear how Brexit will take shape, FME calls for the postponement of Brexit, so that entrepreneurs have some breathing space. Around € 15 billion in exports of industrial products goes to the United Kingdom. In particular, manufacturers of means of transport and chemical products, suppliers of the car industry and machine manufacturers can be hit hard. We are making an effort to ensure that we manage this in every conceivable scenario."

Hans de Boer, Chairman of VNO-NCW stated: 'The companies that only focus on Brexit need to be fully equipped to protect themselves against the risks of all possible scenarios. You should take many of the measures anyway and now that a no-deal scenario is becoming increasingly real you can no longer wait with less than 60 days to go. We make sure, together with the national government, to prepare entrepreneurs for Brexit. With meetings, with the Brexit Impact Scan, with, but it is really one minute before twelve.”

“Almost every day I speak to companies that are very concerned about the consequences of Brexit for their company, but who do not know where to start when assessing the impact,"  stated Leon Kanters, Brexit expert at KPMG Meijburg & Co. "In case of a 'no deal,' Dutch companies must seriously take into account additional delays at the border. This can hurt businesses if they are part of a just-in-time supply chain, such as the food industry and technology sector. So, since the situation is uncertain at the moment, be prepared for all imaginable scenarios, because doing nothing is no longer an option!"

Anton Valk: “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst!”

The Chairman of the Dutch-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), Anton Valk CBE, emphasized that "The Brexit status quo continues tobring uncertainties for entrepreneurs. Our advice, as voiced during our previous NBCC Brexit Forum events, remains as valid as ever: 'hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” The age-old Dutch-British trade relationship will also stand up to Brexit, however, good cooperationand effective preparation are essential here ".

We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to all of our partners & speakers, without whom this event would not have been possible.

The event was a great success and we are proud to have given our members a platform to be inspired by the rigorous exchange of ideas and to feel more prepared and up-to-date than they did before attending.