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German industry "staring into abyss" of no-deal Brexit - BDI

German industry "staring into abyss" of no-deal Brexit - BDI
An anti-Brexit protester shelters under an EU flag themed umbrella opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay   -   Copyright  HANNAH MCKAY(Reuters)
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BERLIN (Reuters) – German industry association BDI on Friday called on European and British leaders to reach a swift and solid Brexit deal, warning that companies are “staring into the abyss” unless an agreement is struck.

The UK is one of the most important buyers of goods made in Germany. In 2017, the value of German exports to the country was 84.4 billion euros ($97 billion) – almost as much as those to China.

A no-deal exit of Britain from the European Union could become a bitter reality, BDI president Dieter Kempf said at a German-French business event in Berlin.

“After countless rounds of negotiations we are anxiously looking at progress in Brexit talks. Worse still, we are really staring into the abyss in these weeks,” Kempf said.

BDI also warned that a hard Brexit would spell enormous trouble for tens of thousands of companies and hundreds of thousands of workers throughout Europe.

Britain’s exit from the EU is scheduled for March. EU negotiator Michel Barnier said on Friday a deal was 90 percent done, although there was still a chance no accord would be reached due to stumbling blocks over the Irish border.

($1 = 0.8735 euros)

(Reporting by Reinhard Becker; writing by Thomas Seythal; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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