International businesses support UK ‘remain’ campaign

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A survey of international businesses, conducted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) UK and law firm Hogan Lovells finds that 86% of respondents feel that the UK should vote to remain in the European Union (EU) – with only 8% expressing support for a ‘Brexit’.

The survey took findings from 27 countries – including the US, China, Japan, Russia, Colombia and Nigeria – and involved 226 respondents, including a mixture of large businesses, small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and sole traders from a range of industries and sectors.

Eighty-two per cent of the international businesses asked felt the UK would be less attractive if it left the EU, with 46% saying they would reduce their UK-based investment in the event of a Brexit. In addition, 35% said they would reduce employment and 74% indicated the UK would have less influence in the EU if it left.

“This is a seminal moment for the UK and will have major implications for many generations to come,” said Sir Mike Rake, chair of ICC United Kingdom. “It is vital that this be a fact-based debate.

“The facts presented in our survey are crystal clear: international business wants the UK to stay in the EU. They think we are better off in the EU and should continue to constructively engage to improve competitiveness and attract foreign direct investment (FDI).”

The ICC UK also released commentary from Germany’s Bundesverbrand der Deutschen Industrie (BDI) and France’s Mouvement des Enterprises de France (MEDEF); both industry bodies similar to the UK’s Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

“The British government has made some reasonable demands,” said Ulrich Grillo, BDI president. “The EU must strengthen European competitiveness and considerably reduce excessive bureaucracy.

“A Brexit will only lead us to a dead-end. Withdrawal from the EU would not only damage the internal market but would also send out a calamitous signal to the remaining European member states. German business has only one message to share with its British neighbours: Stay in – it’s in your best interest.”

Loïc Armand, vice president ICC France and president MEDEF European Committee commented: “We do not want to destroy the European project by being unable to provide the required flexibility for those who want more liberty to decide some of their own rules, or their own money.

“The United States of Europe remains the dream of a few. Let’s keep alive the more achievable project of the United Nations of Europe for all the 28. Let’s change our Europe to save Europe and ensure peace and prosperity for every citizen.”

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