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Roundtable: BREXIT – Challenges and Opportunities for Japanese Companies in Europe and North Rhine-Westphalia

Tokyo, 27 October 2016 - On the occasion of the visit of Dr. Günther Horzetzky, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia, the state’s economic development agency, NRW.INVEST GmbH and its Japanese office, NRW Japan K.K., hosted a roundtable on the topic “BREXIT – Challenges and Opportunities for Japanese companies in Europe and North Rhine-Westphalia” on October 27th, 2016.

The roundtable focused on BREXIT and its possible consequences. Although the British Prime Minister Theresa May targets next March for a possible start of the exit negotiations with the European Union (EU), a clear strategy has yet to be announced. The British vote to leave the EU has created uncertainty among many international companies that need to rethink their current business strategy for Europe. This is a great concern especially to companies that have set up their European headquarters in the United Kingdom.

Japanese businesses are also expected to face numerous challenges: Next to Germany and France, the UK is one of the most important countries for the Japanese economy. More than 1,300 Japanese companies have invested in the UK, around 40 % of them having invested in production sites, whereof half of the production goes to the European Market. Against this background, the Japanese government and industry has pointed out the consequences of the targeted BREXIT to the Japanese economy.

Japanese companies are one of the largest international business communities in North Rhine-Westphalia and NRW.INVEST, NRW Japan K.K. and Düsseldorf as well as other cities provide their best possible support for companies impacted by the Brexit decision. “North Rhine Westphalia is the biggest hub for Japanese companies in continental Europe with a long tradition and a continuous presence. It is our responsibility to be of help and support to those companies who are confronted by challenges resulting from Brexit and are looking for solutions and opportunities on the continent”, stressed Vice-Minister Dr. Günther Horzetzky.