MADRID: The British Chamber of Commerce in Spain fears that the Brexit result will damage trade and investment worth €30 billion between the two nations.
The Chamber said Spanish companies invest 21 percent of the total foreign investment in the UK while British companies invest 14 percent of their entire foreign investment in Spain.
“The British Chamber of Commerce in Spain is very disappointed with the outcome of the referendum, given that our members indicated an almost unanimous commitment to remaining within the EU,” Chris Dottie, the president of the Chamber told The Local.
“The decision to leave poses risks to the very strong British investment in Spain which has been responsible for the creation of 240,000 jobs in recent years. We hope that these risks can be minimized by the British government and European Union giving clarity as early as possible to business regarding the future trading conditions that they will face.
“The strongest short-term effect on business will be related to currency fluctuations and stock market valuations. Regarding the medium and long term much will depend on the results of the years of negotiations that the United Kingdom faces and we currently have no information or precedents to indicate how they will develop.”
But he said he hoped clarity would be quick in coming to limit the damage.
“An uncertain future is never positive but international trade will continue, relations between Spain and the UK will continue and the path to future collaboration and prosperity will become clearer during the coming weeks and months.”
The Local canvassed the views of some British small-business owners in Spain about their views on Brexit.
“I am truly shocked by the outcome of the referendum. Speaking on behalf of many British mothers who have chosen Spain as their adoptive country we know how important the UK is to the livelihoods and jobs of those working in the tourism and property sector, not to mention all the other thousands of industries which have gained from British investment here.
“The weakening of the pound is bound to have a significant and immediate effect and no-one can be sure of other restrictions imposed on UK investment in Spain in the future, not to mention the future of British people living and working here. It is indeed worrying times.”
“There’s still a lot of uncertainty with what could happen with trade, but I am worried that this could increase the price of goods and certainly affect importation..I may have to pay import duties soon.
“Most of my products come from the UK so this could be a big blow. The frustrating part is the uncertainty of it all and the utter disbelief that many people voted blindly, not thinking of the consequences.
“One thing I guess I should take advantage of, however, is the sudden drop in the pound..it’s a good time to buy (from the UK)”.
“I was born in 1975 when the initial EC referendum was held, and after 40 years of breaking down the barriers with our European neighbours it feels like a massive step backwards to leave the EU. I run a business that does business in Europe and this is going to make it more difficult to trade with our European clients.”
“As a British citizen who came to live in Madrid three years ago, I had a plan to build a new company in Spain. With Brexit fears as a deterrent, I’ve been been holding off committing fully to long term plans for the last six months. I woke up this morning to a paradigm shift where those fears have become a reality. Already I’ve notified my followers that I’ll be closing Start Ups Made in Spain. As a non-EU citizen, I don’t feel it is right to continue. It was a project established from within a community of integrated nations, intended to build bridges. I must respect the views of my fellow countrymen and take some time to reflect on my own plans going forward.”
Roger Cooke, a veteran business consultant who has worked in the property sector in Spain for 28 years, and former head of the Chamber of Commerce.
“Cutting through any emotion the reality is we have to wait and see. As I see it the public of both UK and rest of the EU does not know how this will affect prosperity of either business or individuals of either the UK or EU. That will depend on the terms of the exit and how quickly (hopefully rapidly) they can be agreed.
“We are entering the unknown and short term this will not help business confidence at a time when there are still a lot of economic and political challenges ahead of us. Longer term we have to hope the case made by the Brexit camp will be proven to be the case and that the UK will remain a global force in a global economy rather than an isolated market which struggles to compete.”