The Linguist

The Linguist 55,2

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Page 18 of 35

APRIL/MAY 2016 The Linguist 19 FEATURES After the negotiations, the red tape argument becomes huge, because while people say that leaving the EU would free us from red tape, in dealing with Europe it could actually increase. We already see this in VAT regulations where Britain has a different system and, although there are rules that make it easy for companies in Europe to use UK services, a lot of the smaller ones prefer to go elsewhere. A lot of restrictions will be surmountable but the effort may be too much for our smaller clients to bother when it would be less bureaucratic to employ translators in Europe. It's the uncertainty really that's the key – that makes people hesitate – and, later, potential bureaucratic, cost and legal implications (different tax laws, different import laws). Alan Sitkin Senior Lecturer in International Business at Regent's University and Councillor for Enfield If we leave, the European Union would be fully within its rights to put barriers up to the importing of British services. But, as a World Trade Organisation member, we could not put barriers up to EU countries exporting goods to the UK. If we leave the WTO as well, the rest of the world will erect huge barriers to British goods. So we will continue to import European goods as much as ever but we will export a lot fewer UK services. The pound dropped just when Boris Johnson said he was in favour of Brexit, because the markets sense that the UK by itself, without Europeans obliged to buy UK services – insurance and banking and consulting – would not be strong. A large number of multinationals use the UK as a foothold for doing business in this part of the world. Multinationals think along regional lines. They have been explicit about this and said, "we set up in the UK because it's in the EU". So we will lose foreign direct investment, especially in the service sector. They will take their headquarters to Frankfurt or Paris. In addition, being a member of the European Social Chapter means there is more protection for workers in the UK, which is a good thing. Max Marks Director of AMG Capital I think that the UK will still be seen as a player in Europe if we leave the EU, but perhaps no longer a major one. Multinational companies, certainly legal firms, will channel work in Europe through their offices in mainland Europe and, to a degree, avoid coming into the UK as much as possible. There's currently a healthy tax benefit for certain companies to work in the UK but be headquartered overseas. In manufacturing, companies often only opt to build in the UK, as opposed to another EU country, because of the subsidy they're offered. If a subsidy is not available then they are not going to come to the UK as often. I could envisage quite a few major organisations leaving the UK. To use HSBC as an easy example, they have been cutting jobs frequently and the fact that they are moving – or rather 'restructuring' – 1,000 jobs in London to hire 1,000 people in Paris gives an indication that they are hedging. Whatever happens after 23 June, they will be prepared. I think business-to-business interactions would become an awful lot harder. At times I travel across Europe and, due to Schengen, it's all quite easy, but I could imagine that becoming harder. From a business angle, there will undoubtedly be additional levels of due diligence required. At present, if I am doing business in Switzerland, more often than not the contract is governed under British law. The feeling is that the British legal system is the strongest in Europe. Well they will not continue to do that if the UK leaves the EU because suddenly it would become more of a hassle than a benefit. sible impact of the UK leaving the EU ng Brexit © SHUTTERSTOCK

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