As the new Danish Ambassador to the United Kingdom, I am honoured to have the opportunity to write this editorial and reach out to the distinguished members of the Danish-UK Chamber of Commerce.
During the past six years, I worked as the Director of the Trade Council at the MFA, Denmark’s governmental export and investment organization under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our main mission is to support Danish companies in expanding their businesses internationally and attract foreign investments to Denmark. The value of Danish export corresponds to approximately 55% of our GNP. Our growth and welfare depend on the success of our Danish companies’ ability to grow their business globally and it is therefore one of my primary tasks to support Danish businesses in the UK. With over 700 subsidiaries in the UK employing close to 90.000 workers and Danish investments amounting to DKK 5.6 billion, the UK remains one of our most important trading partners.
Nevertheless, it is clear that Danish businesses are concerned about the future consequences of Brexit. The UK is our fifth largest trading partner and 50.000 Danish workplaces depend on our exports to the UK. Despite the depreciation of the British pound, we are pleased – and to an extent surprised – that Danish exports to the UK increased by 20% in the first half of 2017 in comparison to the same period last year.
Brexit will certainly create challenges, but the UK will continue to be an attractive export market for Danish companies due to its position as the fifth most populated European country and the largest EU capital with over 8.7 million living in London. The UK luxury market is expected to double in size over the next five years and Danish companies in this segment are experiencing tremendous interest for their products. We are furthermore witnessing major growth in the British manufacturing sector, where Danish companies are experiencing demand for new technologies aimed to support the productivity and competitiveness of these companies on the global market. The UK will continue to need state-of-the-art technologies and innovative services to further support the challenges faced in sectors such as healthcare, energy, environment and ICT and Denmark is positioned strongly as a leading supplier in these industries.
It is in all of our interests that Brexit be smooth and transparent. At the Embassy, it is our priority that we support both Danish citizens and companies navigating in the new state of affairs and ensure the best framework conditions for our nation’s future growth. Regardless of the outcome of the negotiations, Denmark will aim to remain a strong and reliable trade and investment partner and I look forward to some productive years ahead representing Denmark in the UK.
Here, Lars is with the board of Danish Export Association at the Royal Danish Embassy to discuss consequences of different Brexit scenarios.
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