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23 October 2018

Financial Times: France asks businesses to prepare for ‘no-deal Brexit’

The French government has asked its businesses to gird themselves against a no-deal Brexit, putting out a briefing document aimed at preparing them for a worst-case scenario.

With less than six months to go before Britain leaves the European Union, the French finance ministry has for the first time published a guide requesting its companies “to prepare for the exit of the UK from the European Union.”

The document will on Tuesday evening be sent to French professional federations — such as France’s largest employers organisation, the Medef — then widely distributed by the consular networks and state regional services.

French businesses with connections to the UK are told to “prepare themselves for all scenarios”, including a no-deal Brexit. They are to “perform a self-diagnosis” to identify all the impacts — be they “legal, HR, suppliers [or] distributors, costs, location of activities, data, contracts etc”.

The document then provides a brief rundown of potential impacts, risks and anticipatory measures — including on employees, supply chains, intellectual property, contracts, data, non-financial and financial services — before providing numbers and portals where advice can be found in advance of clarity on the type of Brexit that is agreed.

France has not yet put any figure on the cost of a Brexit transition for its businesses, according to sources at the finance ministry, but acknowledged it might be substantial. According to the same sources, some 30,000 French businesses export to the UK but that underplays the extent of the connections due to importers and service providers.

The French government has already put forward a bill that will give the government decree powers to try to minimise disruption from Brexit. That move earlier this month followed a decision to hire 700 extra customs officers, half of them by the end of the year, to prepare for a no-deal scenario. [...]

Full article on Financial Times (subscription required)

© Financial Times

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