Panasonic runs from Brexit Britain on tax haven fears

(Sky News) -- Panasonic is reportedly moving its European HQ from London to Amsterdam because it fears Brexit Britain being seen as a tax haven by the Japanese government.

The company's boss in Europe used an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review to announce the shift - the latest in a string of Japanese firms to do so as the clock ticks down to March 2019.

Laurent Abadie, the newspaper said, feared Panasonic being hit with back taxes in the electronics firm's home market if the UK government carried through threats to protect foreign investment after Brexit by further slashing corporate tax rates.

Panasonic would not comment on reports that 20 jobs would go to Amsterdam in October - with just ten people being retained at the current London base.

It employs hundreds of other people in the UK - with 10,000 workers across Europe.

Panasonic, like most other companies plotting the future for their post-Brexit operations, also cited concerns about freedom of movement, retaining current access to EU markets and the possibility of a "no deal" scenario.

Unilever, the maker of Dove shampoo and Marmite, said Brexit played no part in its decision to move its headquarters to Rotterdam

However, plane maker Airbus warned in June it could quit the UK if Britain leaves without a trade deal while a string of banks and other financial services firms have bolstered - or are planning to strengthen - their EU operations.

Japanese firms to move their European bases include banking giants Nomura Holdings, Daiwa Securities, MUFG and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.

Carmakers Honda and Nissan are also among a raft of Japanese firms that employ an estimated 142,000 staff in the UK.

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