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Are Swedish businesses ready for a hard Brexit? Not really, survey suggests

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Are Swedish businesses ready for a hard Brexit? Not really, survey suggests
A mural by street artist Banksy in Dover, UK, showing a star being chiselled from the EU flag. Photo: AP Photo/Matt Dunham
08:42 CET+01:00
Almost one in two major Swedish businesses are not prepared for a hard Brexit if the United Kingdom comes crashing out of the European Union on March 29th, according to a new survey.

Swedish banking giant Swedbank quizzed around 400 heads of purchase at major manufacturing and service companies about whether or not they were prepared in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

A total of 32.7 percent told the survey that they were ready to face the possibility of a no-deal exit from the EU, but 48 percent said their company had not started preparing for such a scenario.

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More than 36 percent said no-deal preparations were not necessary. More than one in ten of those who had not started getting ready for a hard Brexit said that preparations were necessary.

Johan Kreicbergs, economist at Swedbank, said he was surprised at the survey results.

"These companies are large enough and have so much international trade that I find it difficult to imagine that no preparations are needed," he told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

"And there's not that much time left."

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The UK is one of Sweden's most important trade partners with goods and services worth around 140 billion kronor ($15.5 billion) exported to British customers in 2017 alone.

But custom duties and the difficulties handling VAT when trading with Britain could become a major issue if Prime Minister Theresa May does not manage to secure a deal with the EU.

"Custom duties are one thing. The companies can handle that, but the biggest problem will be deliveries," Kreicbergs told Dagens Nyheter.

 
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