German industry group asks members to prepare for 'very hard Brexit'

BDI Director General Joachim Lang (L) with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) and BDI President Dieter Kempf (R) at the German Industry Day in Berlin, Germany, June, 2017. Reuters

Germany's leading industry lobby group has asked its members to prepare for a 'very hard Brexit' as London and Brussels seem to be making little progress on an eventual trade deal.

Alerting its members, which include high profile companies such as Siemens and BMW, Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (BDI) or Federation of German Industries, said it members with a presence in the UK should contemplate planning for the worst case scenario that would see London exit the common market's trading framework in March 2019 with no concrete deal on the table.

The BDI said a task force was in place to prepare contingency plans for the UK's departure, but it had with reluctance and "concern" accepted that the "British government is lacking a clear exit concept despite talking a lot."

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BDI Director General Dr Joachim Lang said: "German companies with a presence in Britain and Northern Ireland must now make provisions for the serious case of a very hard exit. Anything else would be naive."

Lang also said the recently concluded Conservative Party conference showed how deeply divided the government was over Brexit.

German companies currently employ around 10,000 people in the UK, with London being Berlin's third-biggest export destination, and fifth-biggest trading partner, according to Bloomberg.

The UK is also the biggest European market for German automobile exports.

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