Brexit: French companies worried

In a fortnight, the United Kingdom is supposed to be in the UK. leave the European Union. But under what conditions ? With or without agreement? It's always blurry. Theresa May is in the stalemate. Face & agrave; so many uncertainties, ...


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The prospect of a hard Brexit is prompting French champagne houses to inflate their stocks in the UK. FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI / AFP

In a fortnight, the United Kingdom is supposed to leave the European Union. But under what conditions ? With or without agreement? It's always blurry. Theresa May is deadlocked. Faced with so many uncertainties, French companies are worried.

Among the sectors likely to be most affected, in case of Brexit without agreement, that of fishing. The consequences are likely to be dramatic for Brittany, the first French region for fishing . In the absence of an agreement with the United Kingdom by March 29, Breton boats will no longer be able to fish in British waters. And almost half of the catches are made there.

The UK is four billion euros of trade surplus for France and 30,000 companies that export. As of March 29, the end of the customs union and the end of the free movement of goods.

Stocks in the United Kingdom

These 30 000 companies will have to make declarations of turnover, on their trade with the United Kingdom, with the customs. Which will require additional work. While large groups have the infrastructure, this is not the case for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Nearly 20,000 French SMEs have no experience in exporting outside the European Union. They will have to deal with supply disruptions. France exports a lot of luxury goods, wines and spirits. In this sector, many companies have taken the lead in stockpiling in the UK. For example, French champagne producers are currently sending whole shipments to the UK. Nearly 15 million bottles are already stored on the island. Objective: to avoid possible tariffs, in case of absence of agreement, on the Brexit.

700 additional customs

To limit economic damage, the French government has prepared an emergency plan. Fifty million euros will be released for seaports and airports. The purpose of this plan is also to support French companies, which trade with the United Kingdom.

To control the 3.5 million trucks arriving by ferry, and the 2 million trucks arriving through the tunnel, 700 additional customs officers have been recruited. Numerous customs controls will also be dematerialized. A new information system, the "SI Brexit," has thus been set up to facilitate the passage of goods between France and the United Kingdom.

Nearly a third of the food consumed by the British comes from the European Union, including France. Fifty veterinarians have been hired for the sanitary controls of food products. Finally, a portal Brexit.gouv.fr also gives indications for each sector, fishing, agriculture, import-export.

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REF: http://www.rfi.fr/economie/20190314-brexit-inquietudes-france-entreprises-peche-champagne-douane