EU Businesses Plan to Pull Back on U.K. Suppliers

Amid Brexit uncertainty, a survey also shows some U.K. companies are looking to replace their EU suppliers.

Almost two-thirds of European Union businesses that work with U.K. suppliers plan to move some of their supply chain out of Britain because of its withdrawal from the bloc, according to an industry group.

That’s an increase from May, when 44% of EU businesses expected to pull back from the U.K., according to a survey the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply released Monday. The group also found that 40% of U.K. businesses with EU suppliers have begun looking for domestic companies to replace them, up from 31% in May.

The findings underscore the concern among executives that the lack of an agreement on the terms of a British exit is hurting businesses. Prime Minister Theresa May will tell one of the nation’s biggest business groups that she backs a transition period to give companies more certainty, while urging executives to be more optimistic about the process.

“The Brexit negotiating teams promise that progress will be made soon, but it is already too late for scores of businesses who look like they will be deserted by their European partners,” Gerry Walsh, chief executive officer of the institute, said in a statement. “The success of the negotiations should not be measured on the final deal only but on how quickly both sides can provide certainty. The clock is ticking.”

The group surveyed 1,118 supply-chain managers around the world from Sept. 4 to Oct. 5 and found that 73% said that keeping tariffs and quotas between the U.K. and Europe to a minimum should be the priority for the negotiations. Of British businesses with EU suppliers, 14% feel they are sufficiently prepared for Brexit, the group found.

 

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