Together with Clifford Chance, we have investigated the cost to businesses of tariffs and non-tariff barriers should the United Kingdom and European Union revert to a World Trade Organization trading relationship after Brexit.
In 2016, the Netherlands imported €33 billion of goods and services from the UK. Seven percent of its exports, equivalent to €42 billion, go to the UK.
After Brexit, we estimate the Dutch economy is likely to face additional trade costs of €4.5 billion every year. This takes into account steps companies will take to reduce the impact.
A quarter of these costs will be shouldered by the food and agriculture sector, and a fifth by the chemicals and plastics sector. Because so many of these businesses are located in the Limburg and Zuid-Holland provinces, these two regions will be affected the most.
Mitigating actions, such as adjusting supply chains to avoid crossing the UK border, can reduce the additional costs faced by Dutch businesses by 10–30 percent. However, on average Brexit will still increase costs and may force businesses to change their pricing strategies, investments choices, and geographical focus.