Dutch-UK relations will survive Brexit but it would be better to remain, King Willem-Alexander says

The Dutch royal family will make a state visit to the UK later this month

Caitlin Morrison
The Hague
Monday 08 October 2018 17:07
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Trade between the UK and the Netherlands is worth more than €60bn each year
Trade between the UK and the Netherlands is worth more than €60bn each year

Britain’s trading relationship with the Netherlands, worth more than €60bn (£53bn), will survive Brexit, but it would have been better for the UK to remain in the EU, the Dutch king said on Monday.

King Willem-Alexander said the Dutch government’s position remained one of regret that Brexit was happening, but he added that the country ultimately respected the choice of the British people.

According to forecasts from the Dutch government’s economic policy analysis agency forecasts that Brexit will cost the Netherlands 1.2 per cent of GDP by 2030, and the country has hired nearly 1,000 new customs officers to prepare for a looming “no deal” Brexit.

However, King Willem-Alexander said that the trading partnership between the two countries would stay strong, with agreements becoming more bi-lateral as a result of the UK’s departure from the EU.

The king’s remarks come ahead of a state visit by the Dutch royal family to Great Britain, set to take place on 23 October.

During his trip to London, King Willem-Alexander will meet with the Lord Mayor of the City of London to discuss Dutch-British co-operation on sustainable production and artificial intelligence, among other subjects.

Trade between the Netherlands and the UK is worth more than €60bn both ways, which the king said was a result of transparency on either side of the partnership, with both countries taking a like-minded approach to doing business.

Earlier this year, the chief executive of the Port of Rotterdam, Allard Castelein, said the trading hub was “preparing for the worst” in anticipation of a hard Brexit.

Britain is the Netherlands’ second largest trading partner after Germany, an the majority of that trade flows through Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port.

Meanwhile, the UK government criticised the EU on Monday for being too “optimistic” that a deal will be reached quickly.

Theresa May’s spokesman downplayed growing hopes emerging from Brussels, insisting the two sides are still far apart and that the EU must make further compromises.

Downing Street also admitted that MPs may not be shown the prime minister’s fresh plans to break the Brexit deadlock before she asks EU leaders to agree to them.

No 10 refused to guarantee the proposals, which include further compromises to solve the Irish border issue, would be published before a crucial EU summit next week, meaning Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Emmanuel Macron, the French president, and other EU leaders, could give their approval before MPs have even been able to consider them

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