Multiple news outlets reported that Amazon U.K. country manager Douglas Gurr said in a closed-door meeting with business leaders and Brexit secretary Dominic Raab that in the event the U.K. officially withdraws from the European Union without certain provisions and protections in place around critical issues like trade tariffs, he expects “civil unrest” to ensue, endangering the business climate in one of the world’s most influential economies.
Operations in the U.K. have already proven highly profitable for Amazon, which added $11.4 billion in revenue last year, amounting to 19 percent annual growth. It’s now the fifth-largest retailer in the U.K. and added 5,000 jobs in 2017, with plans to increase headcount by 2,500, or 10 percent, this year. In addition to its commitment to human resources, Amazon also has been investing in the U.K. with physical assets like data centers amid growing demand for cloud computing services—even as other major firms lay off workers by the thousands and scramble to on-board back-up assets on the continent to ward off potential Brexit-related supply chain snafus.
Most agree that it’s highly unlikely that the U.K. and EU won’t reach a suitable agreement before Brexit takes effect in several month’s time. An Amazon spokesperson clarified to The Guardian that the company routinely prepares for a number of scenarios—even ones as improbable as civil disturbances stemming from a lack of standards and regulations in the wake of Brexit.