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German firms say British market deeply unattractive

Alexander Pearson with dpa, Reuters
May 4, 2018

A new survey shows German managers at small- and medium-sized firms are being turned off the United Kingdom. One man behind the study said the figures indicate "the Brits have given themselves a massive problem."

Stock photo - Brexit
Image: picture-alliance/picturedesk.com/H. Ringhofer

Small and medium-sized businesses in Germany rate the United Kingdom as the worst foreign market for selling and investing in due to Brexit, according to a new report released on Friday.

The report by the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) and the Institute for Applied Economic Research at the University of Tübingen (IAW) surveyed 370 managers at small- and medium-sized businesses throughout Germany about their views on different foreign markets.

Read more: Prepare for 'very hard Brexit,' German industry group warns

Only 3 percent of respondents said they had a positive view of the UK as a manufacturing location, while more than half said they had a negative view.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents said they had a negative view of the UK's economic trajectory and just under 70 percent said they had a negative view of the country's political situation.

Read more: Poles worried about Brexit

Brexit puts the pinch on UK businesses

'Massive problem' for the Brits

"The UK scores worse than countries in the Middle East and North Africa," LBBW chief Karl Manfred Lochner said during the report's presentation.

Manfred cited the uncertainty aroused by the UK's planned departure from the European Union as the reason for the negative scores. "The Brits have given themselves a massive problem," he said.

Many small- and medium-sized German business, he added, may exit the British market if Brexit occurs as planned in March 2019.

Read more: Brexit Diaries 34: Brace yourself, Theresa May

US political situation not much better

The managers surveyed do not view the political situation in the United States much better than the UK's, with only 8 percent viewing the US positively.

While faring much better than the UK, the US also failed to get high scores for other categories. Some 26 percent of respondents viewed the US negatively as a sales market, while around 35 percent viewed the US unfavorably as a manufacturing location.

Read more: Banks mull Brexit exit from UK