English companies based in Belgium are currently living in fear of their country leaving the European Union, following the referendum on 23rd June (a week tomorrow). L’Echo is highlighting this in its Wednesday edition.
Nearly all English companies with Belgian locations are in the “Remain” camp. “It is clear that being part of the European Union is vital for the United Kingdom and vice versa. A total of 97% of our members wish to stay in the Union.” Glenn Vaughan the CEO of the British Chamber of Commerce in Belgium made it his business to explain this.
For businessmen, used to working in the EU internal market, Brexit would entail signing up to a return to the realms of tariff customs charges and cumbersome red tape. The other risk is linked to the fall in the value of the Pound Sterling. The association represents 250 companies which are actively trading in Belgium, which includes the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
With a turnover of five billion euros in Belgium, GSK is by far the leading British company in Belgium. It will invest more than a staggering 850 million euros in the country this year. Its exports make up 12% of total exports from Wallonia.