Short-term effects of the Brexit

This study examines where the Brexit’s initial effects would be the greatest for the competitiveness of sectors in the Netherlands. We look at the effects per sector and region. We describe the cost-increasing effect of trade barriers (tariff and non-tariff barriers) that occur immediately after Brexit, i.e. before companies, governments and consumers have had a chance to respond and adapted their behaviour. We answer the following question: Is the trade-barrier-related increase in costs due to the Brexit larger or smaller for individual Dutch regions, compared to competitors at home and abroad? This is analysed on regional levels per sector. In other words, which sector in which region will see their competitive position either strengthen or weaken, following the Brexit?

The competitiveness of the food industry will weaken in the Netherlands. To a lesser extent, this also applies to agriculture, the chemical industry, and retail and wholesale trade. For some services sectors (financial services, telecom and travel agencies) the competitive position will strengthen; for example, when costs for competitors increase more due to Brexit-related trade barriers.

Regional variation and follow-up negotiations

The effects of a Brexit on the competitive position of companies differs per sector and region. As a result, the interest in follow-up negotiations on the future economic relationship with the United Kingdom may be different for the Netherlands than, on average, for other EU Member States. This study shows where these differences may occur.

The larger economic regions (South Holland, North Holland and North Brabant) will be affected less severely than those that are smaller, because companies in these economically larger regions are more likely to compete with nearby companies and obtain more goods from nearby suppliers. As a result, they are less likely to compete with UK companies and depend less on indirect economic interaction with the United Kingdom. In addition, these regions contain more companies from the services sector, which, on average, increases their competitive position.


Mark Thissen, Anet Weterings, Trond Husby


Publication title
Short-term effects of the Brexit
Publication date
22 February 2019
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