World Economy

Brexit Spells Disaster for German City

German fishermen depend on access to UK herring.German fishermen depend on access to UK herring.

Brexit is making the German city of Bremen terrified of “red tape” as it relies so heavily on British exports, access to fishing waters and UK funding into the EU’s coffers, it has been revealed.

Although it is rarely discussed in Brussels or Berlin, the risk of the UK adopting an independent trade policy and becoming a fierce competitor with the EU is a cause for concern for the bloc’s most powerful states, Mailonline reported.

In Bremen “hard Brexit” is synonymous with economic disaster as the UK is the city’s third largest trading partner after the US and France. International affairs consultant at the Bremen Chamber of Commerce, Anja Markmann, claims businesses are bracing themselves for a nightmarish world of red tape after Brexit.

She said: “Companies are frightened of more bureaucracy concerning tariffs and taxes, which at the moment is very easy. They are really frightened of what could happen.”

Markmann also warned the UK’s plan to strike free trade deals with the US and Japan might threaten the city’s attractiveness to foreign investors. She added: “If Great Britain has got its free trade agreement with Japan, and we’ve got one with the European Union, that could be a problem if more trade is going from Japan to Great Britain. “The competition is already very high.”

“It could be a big problem, though it will be a long time for Great Britain to sign all these trade agreements bilaterally, I think. We will see what happens.”

Bremen’s harbor is also a gateway to rich supplies of fish in UK waters with one trawling company, Doggerbank Seefischerei, catching around 60,000 tons of herring each year.

With the UK due to leave the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy, which allows Germany and other EU states access to British waters, some fishermen face the prospect of empty nets.

Head of Doggerbank Seefischerei Dr Uwe Richter said: “I am thinking about Brexit all the time. “We need entry to British waters and we need future management of the British stocks. That’s our main problem with Brexit, that we could lose our fishing grounds in the British zones. We could go into Norwegian waters but that area is very small, if all ships had to go for herring there, it would be chaos.”

He warned the livelihoods of some German fishermen depended on having access to UK herring and they were counting on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to ensure it continued.


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