German industry ‘is looking into the abyss’ warns country’s business chiefs

James Burton – Daily Mail Jan 18, 2018

German business chiefs have warned that a no-deal Brexit would be catastrophic for their country.

The nation’s supply chains and trade links are closely intertwined with Britain – sparking fears that its vital manufacturing sector will be badly damaged if the UK crashes out of the European Union without an agreement.

More than 750,000 jobs in Germany depend on its trade with the UK.

Carmakers and other firms were expecting a 21-month transition period if Theresa May’s deal with Brussels got through.

Instead they are now faced with a potential rupture in ten weeks that could have catastrophic consequences.

Dieter Kempf, head of the German Federation of Industry (BDI), said: ‘A chaotic Brexit is now getting dangerously close to happening.

‘Our companies are looking into the abyss.

‘We expect rapid answers from London as to how they are going to proceed.’

It is the first time cracks have appeared in the unity of German businesses, which have previously insisted that protecting the single market is more important than finding the best deal for Britain.

Clemens Fuest, head of the IFO Institute of economists in Munich, called on the EU to give ground so Mrs May can get a deal through.

He said: ‘A hard Brexit with its huge costs must be avoided. Both parties should now return to the negotiating table and modify the agreement so that it is acceptable to all sides.’

Meanwhile, German economy minister Peter Altmaier told the Daily Telegraph that if no deal is reached, ‘everybody in Europe would lose. There would be no winners’.