Japanese companies in Britain are taking the British exit from the European Union in stride, but some are wary that if Britain-EU trade talks falter, prospects for business in Europe will become uncertain.
Many firms had already completed preparations for Britain’s exit from the bloc, and during its post-Brexit transition period, the country will still receive the same level of treatment from the EU as the EU’s member states do.
Major financial institutions have already acquired licenses in Germany or the Netherlands to continue operating within the EU.
“There is no particular impact on our operations,” a Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. official said.
Pharmaceutical maker Eisai Co. relocated its staff in Britain to Germany and elsewhere. Hitachi Ltd., which produces rail cars in Britain, said it is now able to procure some 70 percent of its parts in the country.
Honda Motor Co. is slated to shut down its plant in Swindon, southern Britain, in 2021. Management-labor talks on the matter are already complete.
Suppliers to Honda are also looking to move operations outside of the country. Emissions-control device maker Yutaka Giken Co. and car-hose maker Nichirin Co. have already announced plant closures, while car seat maker TS Tech Co. and Showa Corp., which makes shock absorbers, have opened talks with labor unions.
Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. will keep their operations in Britain. But automobiles made in Britain will be hit by tariffs if it fails to conclude a trade agreement with the EU during the transition period, dealing them a severe blow.
“A sudden change in the trade system will have a serious impact on British industry,” Nissan said.
“We can’t expect to see the same level of exchange that we have now” between Britain and the EU, even if a trade agreement is concluded between them, Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chairman Akio Mimura said. “There are no better prospects for businesses.”