CEO Update

When automotive succeeds, so does the UK

26 July 2019 #CEO Update

It has been another seismic week in Westminster, with a new prime minister and cabinet who will have their own approach to Brexit. Our message, however, remains the same – we need a deal with the European Union that maintains frictionless and tariff-free trade and we need it urgently.

We were able to share some of these concerns on Tuesday at an evidence session in the House of Commons organised by the International Trade Committee, examining the impact of ‘no deal’ on trade with non-EU countries. The hearing was a useful opportunity to highlight industry issues to a cross-party group of MPs, clarifying some of the details around how trade with the bloc and countries beyond would be affected. The session covered issues such as ‘no deal’ preparations and the impossibility of being totally prepared, impact of tariffs on business competitiveness and the difficulties of market access overseas when meeting the often stringent Rules of Origin criteria required in preferential agreements.

We have also taken the opportunity today to write to the new prime minister, congratulating him on his new position and highlighting the industry’s immediate and future priorities. There will be more change in automotive in the next 10 years than there have been in the last 50, with exciting opportunities to come during the transition to zero emission vehicles. We want to make the UK the most attractive destination for investors, with the right business and trading environment to thrive.

UK Automotive is extremely good at what it does, with some of the most efficient plants in the world. It contributes £18.6 billion to the UK’s economy, employs hundreds of thousands of people and drives more international trade than any other manufacturing sector. When the automotive sector succeeds, so does the UK.

We face many challenges – not just from new technology, but also geopolitical with economic headwinds and consumer uncertainty. The industry will continue to thrive, however, if the conditions are right because our fundamentals are strong. We have high levels of productivity, a skilled and flexible workforce and we are amongst the global leaders in research and development. We look forward to working with the new government through the industrial strategy to ensure that the UK automotive sector remains what one minister once described as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of UK manufacturing.

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