The Federation of German Industries (BDI) has issued a warning to its members to prepare for hard Brexit, projecting a disruptive conclusion to the ongoing negotiations.
The head of the BDI, Joachim Lang, warned members on Thursday that it would be “naïve” not to make provisions for a no-deal scenario.
This conclusion is significant given that the UK is Germany’s third biggest export market, generating €29bn a year in car sales alone.
As negotiations do not appear to progress, Lang warned that the industry would have to work on the assumption of disruptive tariffs on goods, services and financial transactions.
The German public broadcaster DW reports that the BDI has set up a Brexit task force to deal with the anticipated disruption in pan-European groups such as Airbus, Siemens, and Deutche Bank. German companies employ 400,000 people in the UK.
The leader of the powerful lobby group said that the British vision for post-Brexit Britain is blurred, and the ruling Conservative Party is divided. Britain “is lacking a clear concept despite talking a lot,” Lang said.
Mr. Lang referred specifically to the red lines imposed by foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who has been making the case against a transitional trade deal that would facilitate access to the Single Market after 2019.
During her speech at the Conservative Party conference on Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May referred indirectly to her “no deal is better than a bad deal” policy line, referring to preparations for “every eventuality.”
The co-chair of the Leave Means Leave campaign in the UK, Richard Tice, told the BBC that it is true that the UK may indeed walk out of negotiations, but not because it lacks a “clear concept” but because EU negotiators “purposely obstruct the process.”