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From clothing chain stores to automakers, the big names of "Corporate USA" have long flocked to Britain, attracted by its tax advantages and a common language, and by the prospect of accessing the European Union market and its hundreds of millions of consumers. Unsurprisingly, several large US companies had previously voiced support for Britain to remain in the EU ahead of Thursday's historic referendum that ended with the opposite, unexpected decision: the first exit of a country from the bloc. With $56.1 billion in exports in 2015, Britain is the main destination for US goods in the 28-nation European Union.
Britain's European Commissioner Jonathan Hill, a eurosceptic convert to the EU who announced his resignation Saturday, is a pragmatic dealmaker given a plum job as an olive branch to London by his boss Jean-Claude Juncker. A member of Britain's House of Lords, officially styled The Lord Hill of Oareford, the 55-year-old was sent to Brussels by David Cameron in 2014 where was given the financial services portfolio. The velvet-voiced Hill stepped down Saturday, the latest high-level casualty of Britain's vote Thursday to leave the EU, saying he now believed membership benefitted the country.
European powers demanded a quick divorce Saturday as Britain's seismic vote to abandon the EU sparked bitter break-up rows at home and abroad. Britons had cast aside warnings of isolation and economic disaster to vote 52 percent-48 percent in favour of quitting the European Union in the June 23 referendum. The historic vote, fought on the battlefronts of the economy and immigration, toppled Prime Minister David Cameron, pounded sterling and led Moody's to downgrade Britain's credit rating outlook to "negative".