Panasonic to Leave London for Amsterdam for Fear Post-Brexit UK Could Become ‘Tax Haven’

Panasonic to Leave London for Amsterdam for Fear Post-Brexit UK Could Become ‘Tax Haven’

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic is going to move its European headquarters from London to Amsterdam for fears post-Brexit UK might be seen as a tax haven by Japan’s government.

Panasonic has thus become the latest multinational corporation to declare plans to relocate its European seat from Britain to some of the 27 European countries that will remain members of the EU after Brexit.

“[Panasonic Europe] will pursue improved efficiency and cost competitiveness while having easy access to the different markets within Europe,” the Japanese company said in a statement on Thursday.

It revealed its European headquarters was set to move from London to the Amsterdam in the Netherlands on October 1, 2018.

“No Panasonic UK business operations will be affected by the EU headquarters move,” the statement added.

Panasonic, however, made it clear that the move would affect fewer than 10 employees out of a total staff of 30.

It stated the move could enable further cooperation with its holding company for subsidiaries outside Japan and its financing arm. Both of those are already based in Amsterdam.

Earlier The Nikkei Asian Review newspaper published an interview with Laurent Abadie, the head of Panasonic Europe, as cited by Sky News, suggesting the move was aimed to avoid potential corporate tax issues linked to Britain’s exit from the European Union in March 2019.

Panasonic fears being hit with back taxes in Japan if the UK government carried through threats to protect foreign investment after Brexit by further slashing corporate tax rates.

Quoting Abadie, the report also said the relocation was also supposed to help Panasonic avoid any barriers to the flow of people and goods after Brexit.

The worrying possibility of a hard Brexit, i.e. the so called no-deal scenario in which the UK parts ways with the EU without a withdrawal agreement.

In June, planemaker Airbus warned it could quit the UK if Britain leaves without a trade deal with the EU. BMW and other MNCs have followed suit with similar warnings.

A number of banks and other financial services firms have strengthened their EU operations at the expense of their UK officials, or are planning to do so.

Other Japanese firms to move their European bases include banking giants Nomura Holdings, Daiwa Securities, MUFG and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group because uncertainty over Brexit and its potential ramifications.

In pre-Brexit Britain, some 800 Japanese investors employ more than 100,000 people.

Unilever which recently announced it would move its headquarters out of the UK, and to Rotterdam, also in the Netherlands, has insisted its decision had not been influenced by Brexit.

(Banner image: Panasonic UK)

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