UK auto calls for “business as usual”

Posted on 15 Jul 2017 and read 640 times
UK auto calls for “business as usual”The UK automotive industry has called on the Government to seek an interim arrangement with the European Union that would maintain membership of the single market and customs union until a final agreement on a new relationship with the EU is negotiated and implemented.

Speaking on the day that the sector announced its annual performance figures, the SMMT (www.smmt.co.uk) said it was time to be pragmatic about what can be achieved in the time available and what the consequences would be if the UK left the EU without a deal.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “We accept that we are leaving the European Union, and we share the desire for that departure to be a success.

“However, our biggest fear is that we fall off a cliff edge in two years’ time — with no deal, outside the single market and customs union and trading on inferior WTO terms. This would undermine our competitiveness and our ability to attract the investment that is critical to future growth.

“That’s why we have to be honest with ourselves. If the UK cannot secure — and implement — a bespoke and comprehensive new relationship with the EU in two years’ time, we need a back-up plan.

Having looked at all the alternatives, we need the Government to seek an interim arrangement, whereby we stay within the single market and customs union until that new relationship is implemented.

“The UK automotive industry has always maintained the importance of the EU to its prosperity; the EU is by far the UK’s biggest automotive export market, taking over half of our finished vehicles — four-times as many as our next biggest market.

“The sector already exports to over 160 different global markets and has a consistent approach to free trade.

“It needs that trade to be tariff-free, as frictionless as possible to support the ‘just in time’ manufacturing process, and with consistent regulation.”

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