Sony to Move European Headquarters to the Netherlands
Japanese electronics company Sony will be moving its European headquarters from London, UK to Amsterdam, Netherlands. This decision is part of the company’s efforts to avoid the disruptions—particularly customs-related issues— that can take place once Britain relinquishes its membership to the European Union.
The company is set to move the registration of its European headquarters to the Netherlands by the end of March. Despite this, Sony’s UK operations and personnel will remain in Britain and will not be affected by the move. The company’s spokesperson, Takashi Iida, told Agence France Press that “the only change we will make is the change of registered location of the company.” By changing its registration location to the Netherlands, Sony will remain a “company based in the EU” and apply the EU’s customs procedures to its European operations once Britain has left the bloc.
Moving Out of the UK
Sony is not the first company that has decided to move its headquarters out of the United Kingdom. Last year, Panasonic also moved its headquarters to Amsterdam in order to avoid the potential tax issues Brexit will create. Several Japanese firms, such as Nomura Holdings and MUFG, have also announced their plans to follow suit and move their Europe headquarters out of the UK.
The UK is set to formally leave the EU in March 29, regardless of whether there is a deal or not. The future is quite uncertain after the UK parliament voted to reject a deal agreed upon by British Prime Minister Theresa May and the EU. World leaders are also voicing their concern over the matter. In his recent trip to the UK, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, “…we truly hope that a no-deal Brexit will be avoided, and in fact that is the whole wish of the whole world.”
A leaked government document dated November 2018 reported that cross-Channel freight traffic can drop down from 75% to 87% should a no-deal Brexit push through, and it would take at least 6 months to recoup from this fall.
In order to soften the impact of Brexit, Japanese businesses are pushing for special measures to be put in place during the transitional period. They have also expressed hope that the UK and the EU will establish a close economic relationship.