Panasonic moves European headquarters to Amsterdam because of Brexit

POOL  AFP  File | Brexit... no laughing matter

POOL AFP File | Brexit... no laughing matter

The company's Europe CEO, Laurent Abadie, told the Nikkei Asian Review on Thursday that Panasonic was seeking to avoid potential tax issues resulting from Britain's departure from the European Union.

The aim is to avoid potential tax issues linked to the UK's decision to leave the European Union, said Panasonic Europe's chief executive Laurent Abadie.

Planemaker Airbus warned in June it could quit the United Kingdom if Britain leaves without a trade deal, while Unilever announced in March it was moving its corporate headquarters to Rotterdam, although it has claimed the decision is not Brexit-related.

In 2016, the United Kingdom government pledged to cut corporate tax to encourage businesses to continue investing in the United Kingdom after the Brexit referendum.

Laurent Abadie, the newspaper said, feared Panasonic being hit with back taxes in the electronics firm's home market if the United Kingdom government carried through threats to protect foreign investment after Brexit by further slashing corporate tax rates.

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Other firms, including Airbus and Japanese banking giant Nomura Holdings, have revealed similar plans to move European bases out of Britain because of uncertainty over Brexit.

It is believed that up to 20 out of 30 employees could be affected.

The announcement of Panasonic's headquarters move comes just days after the head of Japan's biggest business lobbyist said that Japanese businesses are "seriously concerned" about their future in the United Kingdom if Brexit uncertainty is not addressed imminently.

There are now 800 Japanese companies employing more than 100,000 people in the United Kingdom, many in well paid jobs. "We're now in a situation where we have to consider what to do in all of them".

However, like many of Britain's closest partners, Japan has voiced concern about business relations post-Brexit.

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