More Dutch companies prepared for Brexit

The results of a new study by Kantar Public, commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, show that more and more companies are preparing for the effects of Brexit.

As of mid-March, 32% of businesspeople surveyed said that they were actively engaged in major or significant preparations. In the summer of 2018 the corresponding figure was 18%, while in 2017 it was only 9%. In addition, 44% of those surveyed said that they had made ‘a few’ preparations for Brexit. This means that around three-quarters of Dutch companies have done something in response to Brexit. The number of businesspeople who say they have done nothing at all has dropped sharply from 46% to 20%.

Impact

The increased preparations are connected to growing concerns among businesspeople about the impact of the UK’s departure from the European Union. The segment that believes that Brexit will have a fairly substantial impact on the Dutch economy has increased to 65% – versus 54% in 2018. By contrast, only 21% of those questioned believe that Brexit will not have a significant – or even any – impact on Dutch business, as against 31% in 2018 and 35% in 2017.

More businesspeople now also anticipate that Brexit will have a major effect on their own company. Twenty-eight per cent of those surveyed expected it to have a fairly or very large effect. (The corresponding figure for 2018 was just 21%.) The majority of respondents (77%) see Brexit as likely to have a predominantly negative effect. As in 2017 and 2018 companies are mainly worried about new regulations (on customs formalities, checks and inspections) and import duties.

Preparations

Companies are preparing in different ways: by following the news, studying customs regulations and the new rules on import duties and VAT, and talking with suppliers, customers and other links in their production and logistics chain. Over a quarter of respondents indicated that they were making agreements about prices and delivery for the post-Brexit period. One in five are making agreements with transporters or exploring other markets, products or suppliers.

The public

Kantar also conducted a study on perceptions by ordinary members of the public. A striking outcome is the dramatic increase in the desire for information. Whereas in 2018 the vast majority of people (92%) said they had no need for information about Brexit, now over one-fifth of the public has a very great (3%) or somewhat great need (18%) for information about Brexit. Only three out of ten Dutch people say that they have no need for such information. The issues that people are most interested in are the future relationship with the UK and repercussions for the Dutch economy and for travel to and from the UK.

Dutch nationals in the UK

Dutch people living in the UK remain anxious about the consequences of Brexit and are eager for information. They are most concerned about new customs formalities, residence and employment rights and the growing cultural distance between the EU and the UK. Three in ten Dutch nationals living in the country are making some (21%) or a lot of preparations (9%) for the possible effects of Brexit. In 2018 this figure was 22%.

The full Kantar study will be released shortly.

Ministry responsible