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Consequences of Brexit for Japanese companies

Düsseldorf, 15 September 2016 - Brexit and the possible consequences for Japanese companies were the focus of the information event held by the Düsseldorf Office of Economic Development and the state-owned economic development agency NRW.INVEST on 14 September. 122 representatives of Japanese companies from North-Rhine Westphalia, as well as from the United Kingdom and Brussels, were informed about the possible effects of Brexit on their European business in the plenary hall of Düsseldorf City Hall. Mayor Thomas Geisel said: "The close and trusting cooperation between Düsseldorf and the Japanese companies is the basis for the open exchange of information at this event and for a dialogue on the possibilities that Düsseldorf and the region offer to those who, due to the Brexit decision, want to strengthen their business activities on the European continent.

The British referendum in favor of Brexit presents many international companies with the challenge of rethinking their European strategies. This is particularly true for companies that conduct their European business from the United Kingdom.

Brexit is particularly hard for Japanese companies. In addition to France with the Paris metropolitan area and Germany with North Rhine-Westphalia and Düsseldorf, the UK is an important location for the Japanese economy in the EU. "Japanese companies form one of the largest international business communities in North Rhine-Westphalia, but they are also the foreign business community with the longest continuity. Many companies are faced with unclear challenges due to Brexit. In an exchange with the companies we want to monitor developments, offer our services and work on solutions," said Petra Wassner, CEO NRW.INVEST.

More than 1,300 Japanese companies have invested in the United Kingdom, and approx. 40 percent of those in a production facility. 50 percent of the production there is destined for the EU market. Immediately after the Brexit decision, the Japanese government set up a task force to deal with the consequences of Brexit. Recently, at the G20 summit, the Japanese government presented an official letter with requirements from the Japanese economy to the British government and the EU regarding further Brexit negotiations.

This was reason enough for NRW.INVEST and the Düsseldorf Office of Economic Development to address the issue and to discuss the most important aspects, scenarios and possible problems of Brexit at a joint event with the actors of the Japanese economic community. In particular, the topics law, taxation, freedom of movement of workers, goods traffic were also discussed with regard to the economic location North Rhine-Westphalia with Düsseldorf. A survey conducted by the Japanese Consul General in Düsseldorf among the local Japanese companies on the expected impact of Brexit on their business activities was also presented.

The Japanese Consul General Ryuta Mizuuchi; Petra Wassner, NRW.INVEST and Uwe Kerkmann, Düsseldorf Office of Economic Development opened the event. Prof. Dr. Werner Pascha from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Institute of East Asian Studies, led the participants through the program. Speakers and panel participants included: Ryuta Mizuuchi, Japanese Consul General; Masayoshi Watanabe, Director General of JETRO Düsseldorf; Dr. Monika Y. Franz-Demuth, Franz & Partner; Izumi Tanaka, Schnorbus Helmhold Wardemann PartGmbB, Dr. Gerhard Eschenbaum, Düsseldorf Chamber of Commerce, Astrid Becker, NRW.INVEST, Annette Klerks, Düsseldorf Office of Economic Development.

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