Germany’s Mittelstand are hardly prepared for Brexit

GERMANY’S MID-SIZED manufacturers, collectively known as the Mittelstand, form the backbone of the world’s fourth-largest economy. The fifth-biggest export market for their precision-engineered machinery and components is Britain, especially its car industry. Brexit, then, should be a worry. Yet according to BVWM, their trade association, only 17.6% of Mittelständler surveyed at the end of 2018 said they were “well prepared” for Brexit. Fully 77% thought Brexit would not affect them.

Plenty of German business folk long believed that Brexit would not happen, explains Mats Persson, head of the Brexit team at EY, a consultancy. They perceived the British as sensible people who would find a solution, even as evidence to the contrary piled up in Westminster. Many view Brexit as a local problem for Britain. And preparing for a range of Brexit scenarios would be too costly to trouble themselves with.

Or is it? Over the past three months the Mittelstand’s nonchalance has turned into mild alarm. Seminars and panels for entrepreneurs and managers all over Germany dissect Brexit almost daily. Several federal states, including Hamburg and Lower Saxony, have set up hotlines for entrepreneurs with questions about Brexit. Many Mittelstand companies found excuses not to prepare for Brexit, says Christoph...

via Business Feeds

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