The uncertainty of Brexit is not affecting the outlook for British investment in Spain

Although doubts continue to hover around the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU, most British companies are opting to remain in Spain

This is one of the conclusions of the 5th Barometer on the Climate and Outlook for British Investment in Spain published by the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain with the collaboration of Analistas Financieros Internacionales (AFI).

Arranque del vídeo del NOOC Entender el brexit y sus desafíos

It is worth noting that January 31 2020 marks the expiration of the third extension of the period specified in art. 50 of the TEU for the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union. From this moment, the United Kingdom will in principle become a "third country".

But the uncertainty associated to the long withdrawal process, which is already causing damage to the European economies as a whole, will not cease even if the British and European Parliaments ratify the withdrawal agreement agreed by the European Commission and the British government before that date. If they do, it will guarantee an orderly departure, although it will not dispel all the question marks surrounding the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the EU. Both parties must begin to negotiate as soon as possible.

This is therefore the moment to ask about the effects that Brexit may already have had, on the United Kingdom's investment in Spain prior to its departure from the EU, and also whether British companies in Spain are modifying their future investment plans in Spain in anticipation of Brexit.

The findings of the Barometer are encouraging. The document concludes that in the three years that have elapsed since the Brexit referendum, the investment flow from the United Kingdom to Spain has remained at its usual levels. The year-on-year average of British FDI in Spain since 2016 has exceeded its historic average. In fact, 60% of the respondents say they have not experienced any significant changes in their investment policy since the start of the Brexit negotiations.

It is also true, however, that the percentage of British companies surveyed who consider that Brexit will not reduce their investment in Spain has fallen (from 82% to 63%) since the last edition of the Barometer, but continues to be high. In addition, among the companies that do foresee a reduction there is uniformity in regard to the scale of the impact: 35% expect it to be limited, less than 5%; while another 30% consider it will be over 20%.

80% of British companies have not considered changing the destination of their investments (current or future) to geographies other than Spain as a result of Brexit.

Finally, only 11% of companies consider the extension to have had a major impact.

To learn more about the negotiations, you can follow Understanding Brexit and its challenges, a free online nano-course (NOOC) prepared by ICEX-CECO.