Business sounds alarm over Brexit 'chronic uncertainty'

Companies are heaping pressure on the British government to explain its plan for Brexit.Foreign automakers, Br...

Posted: Feb 8, 2018 7:40 PM
Updated: Feb 8, 2018 7:40 PM

Companies are heaping pressure on the British government to explain its plan for Brexit.

Foreign automakers, British banks and thousands of companies are urging Prime Minister Theresa May to provide clarity about future trade with the European Union.

"There is no room for continued ambiguity as companies make investment and hiring decisions," the British Chambers of Commerce wrote Wednesday in a letter to May.

"The government must set out its plans," added the group, which represents companies with 6 million workers.

Britain will leave the EU in just 13 months, but May's cabinet is still divided over how close a relationship the country should seek to retain with its biggest export market.

May meets senior ministers this week in an attempt to settle on a way forward, but she has been conspicuously silent even as businesses cry out for clarity.

Uncertainly is already dragging down the U.K. economy, which is now the slowest growing in Europe and the G7.

Related: The CNNMoney Brexit jobs tracker

May will also meet Thursday with investors and executives from Japan.

Many Japanese corporations have invested heavily in the U.K., including global banking giant Nomura and top automakers Toyota, Nissan and Honda.

Japan published a detailed list of its concerns about Brexit shortly after Brits voted in the EU referendum in 2016.

Japanese firms wanted reassurances that the U.K. would seek to limit any "harmful effects" on their businesses, according to the government document.

It warned that those with European headquarters in the U.K. may move those functions elsewhere in Europe "if EU laws cease to be applicable in the U.K. after its withdrawal."

Japan's foreign ministry confirmed Thursday that it stands by the memo.

The top European executive from Nissan, which employs nearly 7,000 people at the U.K.'s largest car factory, attended the meeting with May, along with representatives from Hitachi, Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, SoftBank and Mizuho.

Related: Britain's most painful Brexit choice is all about trade

Urgent requests for clarity are also being made on behalf of banks and financial services companies.

Nicky Morgan, a lawmaker who chairs the influential Treasury committee in the House of Commons, accused the government of throwing the sector into a "chronic state of uncertainty."

Many companies will begin to activate contingency plans for Brexit next month, but still don't know what the government hopes to achieve in terms of access to European markets, she said in a statement.

"The clock is ticking for the financial services industry," Morgan added.

Consulting firm Oliver Wyman estimates that 75,000 finance jobs could be lost in the long term if Brexit goes badly.

The U.K. government says it believes it can achieve "as frictionless as possible" trade with the EU because doing so is in the interest of both parties.

Even if top British politicians can settle on a preferred option, there's no guarantee it will be accepted by the EU.

"This is a crucial year for the Brexit negotiations and of course we will all be better informed, we hope, by certainly this time next year about the future trading relationship with the EU," Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said Thursday.

-- Simon Cullen, Chris Liakos, Ivana Kottasov- and Yoko Wakatsuki contributed reporting.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 297321

Reported Deaths: 6805
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19814231
Hinds18949395
Harrison16886282
Rankin12842265
Jackson12750234
Lee9720163
Madison9516204
Jones8035148
Forrest7289138
Lauderdale6872228
Lowndes6061140
Lamar593381
Lafayette5767114
Washington5232130
Bolivar4630124
Oktibbeha443095
Panola433698
Pearl River4212132
Warren4144115
Pontotoc411071
Marshall405995
Monroe3996129
Union397174
Neshoba3848171
Lincoln3624104
Hancock352978
Leflore3400121
Sunflower320986
Tate303974
Pike302697
Scott296171
Alcorn292763
Yazoo292066
Itawamba290675
Coahoma283069
Tippah280065
Copiah279959
Simpson277581
Prentiss271258
Marion258878
Wayne255641
Leake254172
Covington250280
Grenada248878
Adams235778
George232745
Newton232753
Winston222179
Jasper214145
Tishomingo213266
Attala206971
Chickasaw201954
Holmes182870
Clay179452
Stone173429
Tallahatchie171739
Clarke170773
Calhoun158628
Smith153833
Yalobusha145736
Greene128133
Walthall125441
Montgomery123540
Noxubee123431
Perry123235
Lawrence121421
Carroll119425
Amite112435
Webster111132
Jefferson Davis102731
Tunica99824
Claiborne99030
Benton94024
Humphreys93128
Kemper91423
Quitman77514
Franklin76420
Choctaw70117
Jefferson62827
Wilkinson62727
Sharkey49217
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 499411

Reported Deaths: 10149
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson719951403
Mobile36396741
Madison32674469
Tuscaloosa24391423
Montgomery22789523
Shelby22250219
Baldwin19915289
Lee15070161
Calhoun13961296
Morgan13785255
Etowah13413327
Marshall11458215
Houston10121264
Elmore9509190
Limestone9435139
St. Clair9050228
Cullman8993183
Lauderdale8628214
DeKalb8507175
Talladega7643165
Walker6600260
Jackson6551104
Autauga634492
Blount6252128
Colbert6007121
Coffee5261104
Dale4680107
Russell407534
Franklin400779
Covington3996107
Chilton3911104
Escambia379473
Tallapoosa3637143
Clarke344553
Chambers3432111
Dallas3428142
Pike292973
Marion288796
Lawrence285787
Winston258568
Bibb246058
Marengo244657
Geneva240270
Pickens225757
Barbour213851
Hale212569
Fayette202657
Butler201466
Henry183541
Cherokee178140
Monroe166739
Randolph165141
Washington157036
Macon147845
Crenshaw146755
Clay146254
Cleburne140141
Lamar133933
Lowndes133151
Wilcox123225
Bullock117736
Conecuh107224
Perry106427
Sumter100832
Coosa90324
Greene88732
Choctaw55723
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 64°
Columbus
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 64°
Oxford
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 61°
Starkville
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 61°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather