Spooked by Johnson, Denmark Ramps Up No-Deal Brexit Preparations

(Bloomberg) -- Denmark is growing increasingly concerned about U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s approach to the Brexit negotiations and is ramping up preparations for a no-deal that could cost the Nordic nation as much as 1.3% in lost growth.

“The new British government’s approach is worrying,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told reporters in Copenhagen as he announced the creation of an emergency task force comprising officials from eight ministries.

“We haven’t yet seen proposals from the U.K. government,” he said.

Britain is one of Denmark’s biggest trading partners. The Foreign Ministry estimates that around 60,000 Danish jobs, or 2% of the labor force, relies on exports to the U.K. Studies by the OECD and the International Monetary Fund suggest Britain leaving the European Union without a deal could reduce Danish gross domestic product growth by between 1% and 1.3% over the next 5 to 10 years. Fishing rights is another potentially contentious issue.

The government urged businesses to do their due diligence and said the government would spend 10 million kroner ($1.5 million) on a new public awareness campaign. A no-deal would result in a 15% increase in goods handled by Danish custom officials, while 50 new hires have been made by tax authorities.

Asked by reporters, Kofod said it was difficult to provide an assessment on the total costs incurred by Denmark’s no-deal preparations.

The Danish central bank earlier cited a so-called “hard Brexit” among the downside risks to economic growth.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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