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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: 144544

Reported Deaths: 3729
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto956999
Hinds9541193
Harrison6825105
Jackson6068116
Rankin523796
Lee480294
Madison4602102
Forrest367185
Jones344687
Lauderdale3343142
Lafayette313347
Washington3088106
Lamar281849
Bolivar237883
Oktibbeha237760
Lowndes228362
Neshoba2171113
Panola211047
Marshall207247
Leflore200789
Pontotoc193227
Monroe189577
Sunflower189554
Lincoln183964
Warren172157
Tate163349
Union160125
Pike160058
Copiah158840
Yazoo150638
Scott149929
Coahoma147342
Itawamba145533
Alcorn143724
Simpson143553
Pearl River142967
Prentiss139526
Grenada136344
Adams135948
Leake131643
Holmes124461
George121623
Tippah120930
Covington117234
Winston115824
Wayne115722
Hancock114137
Marion110746
Attala106233
Tishomingo106042
Newton102829
Chickasaw102332
Tallahatchie94727
Clarke88253
Clay86726
Jasper81121
Walthall74328
Stone72314
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71213
Carroll70514
Lawrence69914
Noxubee69017
Smith68616
Yalobusha67926
Perry65225
Tunica59519
Greene58422
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis54117
Humphreys52518
Amite50814
Benton48217
Quitman4786
Webster41614
Kemper40815
Wilkinson38422
Jefferson34011
Franklin3185
Sharkey30617
Choctaw3057
Issaquena1114
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 234080

Reported Deaths: 3459
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson30620491
Mobile19306358
Tuscaloosa12501148
Madison12410146
Montgomery12040232
Shelby980576
Baldwin826984
Lee753964
Morgan618247
Calhoun5997113
Etowah590564
Marshall581953
Houston507038
DeKalb463535
Cullman412636
Limestone404544
St. Clair398455
Elmore393961
Lauderdale382953
Walker349096
Talladega335942
Colbert296341
Jackson291924
Blount276336
Autauga263439
Franklin244833
Coffee233415
Dale226654
Dallas220231
Russell21803
Chilton216937
Covington212533
Escambia194431
Tallapoosa169290
Chambers168048
Pike155514
Clarke155419
Marion134535
Winston123723
Lawrence122436
Geneva11748
Marengo116924
Barbour116110
Pickens115318
Bibb114217
Butler113741
Randolph99821
Cherokee98924
Hale91631
Washington90018
Clay89423
Fayette84416
Henry8426
Lowndes78729
Monroe76811
Cleburne74414
Crenshaw70330
Macon70020
Bullock69019
Conecuh66814
Perry6686
Lamar6267
Wilcox62418
Sumter55322
Choctaw41713
Greene40217
Coosa3074
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