William Grimes, Associate Dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, spoke at an October 3, 2016 seminar hosted by the Harvard University Asia Center entitled “The EU/Brexit Crisis: Views From Asia.”
Grimes delivered a presentation at the seminar entitled “Brexit: The View from East Asia,” which focused on the considerable concern in Asia about the prospect of the UK leaving the EU.
According to Grimes, this concern is largely due to economic interests.
“For Japanese firms, the United Kingdom has long been the gateway to European markets, and nearly half of Japanese foreign direct investment to Europe has gone to the UK,” Grimes said. “For Japanese auto, IT hardware, and pharmaceutical companies, the bulk of their UK-based manufacturing is sold elsewhere in Europe, so they are very concerned about the prospect of having to face new tariffs and customs procedures. Meanwhile, Japanese financial institutions, wholesalers, and retailers have made the UK their European headquarters, and now are worried about the possibility of the ‘single passport’ – such as access to EU services markets and EU-wide data localization.”
Grimes said other East Asian firms are less directly exposed, but there are strong concerns throughout the region that Brexit could affect them negatively through its effects on global demand, equity markets, and currencies.
“A major concern on all these counts is over the uncertainty about the timing of Brexit and the specific provisions that will eventually be implemented to manage economic relations between the UK and the EU,” Grimes said.
Professor Grimes has spent time as a visiting researcher at the Japanese Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Japan, and several universities in Japan and Australia. He has been the recipient of various fellowships and awards over the years, including two Fulbright fellowships and a book-writing grant from the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership. He is an active lecturer in Japan and the United States in both academic and policy venues and has been recognized for his teaching and advising at Boston University. You can read more about him here.