Brexit Britain set to lose EU builders

A campaigner holds fake £350 million notes featuring the face of Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson as EU advocates launch the Brexit Facts Bus and kick off a new initiative against Brexit. Recruitment firm Hays expects that the UK’s departure from Europe will encourage builders from EU countries to leave. (AFP)
Updated 22 February 2018
0

Brexit Britain set to lose EU builders

LONDON: British construction sites are starting to see a labor shortage as Eastern Europeans, who have traditionally filled the bulk of on-site jobs, have stopped taking positions after Britain’s decision to leave the EU, recruiter Hays said.
CEO Alistair Cox said there was “less appetite” for non-British workers to take jobs following the Brexit vote and some European Union citizens had quit jobs in Britain, with the immediate impact being felt on construction sites.
“We are starting to see skill shortages in a number of areas there because of a lot of the traditional supply, much of which has come from Europe has dried up,” he told Reuters.
Cox’s comments are the first indication that firms may struggle to fill jobs after Brexit. So far, staffing companies had said employers in Britain had frozen new job investments and were only hiring replacements for jobs being vacated.
The concern remains that Brexit could cause a mass-exodus of jobs to other countries with large European agencies vacating their British headquarters and financial companies detailing plans to transfer jobs to keep servicing EU clients.
Finance firms had begun moving “some small areas of the business” with “relatively insignificant numbers” of jobs to other European countries, Cox said, declining to name the companies or the functions of jobs moved.
But he said there had not been any moves of larger departments or “hundreds or thousands” of jobs and said finance firms were not only hiring replacements for those leaving but also making fresh hires for risk, compliance and audit.
Hays said the wider British market, which along with Ireland accounts for about a quarter of the group’s net fees, remained subdued but stable. Cox also said that wage inflation remained subdued at about 2 to 2.5 percent a year.
Profit from Britain and Ireland rose 24 percent to £22.6 million in the six months ending Dec. 31, helped by cost controls. Like-for-like net fees grew 1 percent.
This improvement and international growth pushed Hays’ profit up 16 percent to £116.5 million ($161.7 million) beating consensus of £115.6 million.
Three analysts said they expected full-year profit consensus of £239.8 million to rise by low single digits, but Hays’ shares, up about 12 percent this year, fell 5 percent at 194 pence in early trade, a steeper fall than the midcap index.
“Shares have been strong coming into the earnings and probably are already pricing in the upgrades,” Morgan Stanley analysts wrote.


EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

Updated 23 June 2018
0

EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

  • Trump threatened to impose 20 percent tariff
  • Shares in carmakers slip on trade war fears

PARIS: The European Union will respond to any US move to raise tariffs on cars made in the bloc, a senior European Commission official said, the latest comments in an escalating trade row.
US President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to impose a 20 percent tariff on all imports of EU-assembled cars, a month after his administration launched an investigation into whether auto imports posed a national security threat.
“If they decide to raise their import tariffs, we’ll have no choice, again, but to react,” EU Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen told French newspaper Le Monde.
“We don’t want to fight (over trade) in public via Twitter. We should end the escalation,” he said in the comments published on Saturday.
The European Autos Stocks Index fell on Friday after Trump’s tariff threat. Shares US carmakers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. also dropped.
“If these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the US Build them here!” Trump tweeted.
The US Commerce Department has a deadline of February 2019 to investigate whether imports of automobiles and auto parts pose a risk to US national security.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday the department aimed to wrap up the probe by late July or August. The Commerce Department plans to hold two days of public comments in July on its investigation of auto imports.
Trump has repeatedly singled out German auto imports to the United States for criticism.
Trump told carmakers at a meeting in the White House on May 11 that he was planning to impose tariffs of 20 or 25 percent on some imported vehicles and sharply criticized Germany’s automotive trade surplus with the United States.
The United States currently imposes a 2.5 percent tariff on imported passenger cars from the EU and a 25 percent tariff on imported pickup trucks. The EU imposes a 10 percent tariff on imported US cars.
The tariff proposal has drawn sharp condemnation from Republican lawmakers and business groups. A group representing major US and foreign automakers has said it is “confident that vehicle imports do not pose a national security risk.”
The US Chamber of Commerce said US auto production had doubled over the past decade, and said tariffs “would deal a staggering blow to the very industry it purports to protect and would threaten to ignite a global trade war.”
German automakers Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG build vehicles at plants in the United States. BMW is one of South Carolina’s largest employers, with more than 9,000 workers in the state.
The United States in 2017 accounted for about 15 percent of worldwide Mercedes-Benz and BMW brand sales. It accounts for 5 percent of Volkswagen’s VW brand sales and 12 percent of its Audi brand sales.