Britons are still clinging to their traditions despite the looming Brexit and the annual British Flair is going ahead as planned from August 6-7, 2016 in Hamburg. Around 50 exhibitors at Hamburg’s Polo Club will be selling all kinds of high-quality British products from wax jackets, hats and accessories, fish and chips to finest single malt whisky. The entertaining highlights include the annual “British Flair Open Air Proms Concert“ to be held in a picnic atmosphere on Saturday evening.
Thomas Evans is a British expatriate currently living in Osnabruck, and will be selling English antiques, furniture and accessories under his label Evans English Lifestyle in Hamburg. Commenting on the British vote to leave the EU, Evans said: “The result of the Brexit vote was a big shock for us. We had hoped and trembled, but in the end it just wasn’t enough.” However, he is not letting Brexit spoil his enjoyment of British Flair – rather it has given him even more incentive. He added: “Now is the time for showing a commitment to cultural exchange. “
British start-ups searching for new locations
Almost six weeks after the referendum, forecasts for Hamburg’s economy are not quite as gloomy. Commenting on the situation presently, Dr. Rolf Strittmatter, Manager Hamburg Business Development Corporation (HWF), said: “It will in future be increasingly important for companies who wish to do business in the EU to have a branch in the bloc as well. London will lose importance as the seat of European headquarters.” This could lead to new opportunities for Hamburg in the digital and technology sectors. Many British start-ups are already looking for new locations. And Hamburg is also considered a good alternative for trade finance and ship financing, Strittmatter said.
Second most important export partner
Around 4,200 Britons call Hamburg home and they account for a 2.6 per cent share of the overall population. Visitors from Britain also play a key role in tourism. Since 2015, Britons clocked up 280,000 overnight stays in Hamburg. That means Britain is the third most important foreign market for Hamburg. Around 10 per cent of exports from companies in Hamburg go to Britiain making it the second most important country in terms of foreign trade partners.
Cautious business expectations
But this close connection to Britain means the Brexit vote has serious consequences for commerce in Hamburg, as confirmed by the Chamber of Commerce’s latest economic barometer. Accordingly, the Hamburg-based firms interviewed were more cautious about their business expectations and export prospects over the next 12 months than in the previous quarter. Prof. Hans-Jörg Schmidt-Trenz, CEO of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, said: “The insecurity that has arisen from Britain’s upcoming exit from the EU is having a negative effect on companies’ expectations in Hamburg.“ Now, a Briton would probably say, “keep calm and carry on“, which is probably a suitable motto for this year’s British Flair.