CEO Update

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to join SMMT’s International Automotive Summit

18 June 2021 #CEO Update

The news that the final easing of lockdown measures in England would be delayed by four weeks was, of course, very disappointing but the sector, like so many others directly affected, understands the need for a continuation of restrictions to help protect the population, in particular from the highly transmissible Delta variant.

It is vital, however, that this extension is the last and that Government support measures stay in place for as long as are required. To help boost recovery, we need large scale business events, which drive demand and growth, to resume, for confidence to return amongst businesses and consumers and the country to open up for international travel and trade, free of restrictions.

Trade is the foundation of this sector’s success, and so the agreement in principle of a trade deal between the UK and Australia this week is welcome. If tariffs can be avoided, making UK manufacturers more competitive against international rivals, there is some potential to increase our vehicle exports down under. Given the integrated nature of the automotive industry, however, and the importance of proximity, we must also ensure smooth trade with markets closer to home.

Boosting international trade, enhancing the UK’s competitiveness and investing in digitalization whilst on the Road to Zero. This is the immense challenge before the UK automotive sector, and the focus of the  SMMT’s International Automotive Summit 2021, being held on Tuesday 29 June from 09:15.

With less than two weeks to go we are delighted to confirm that the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Rt Hon Edward Miliband MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will be delivering political keynote speeches.

Furthermore, we can also now announce that Alex Smith, Managing Director, Volkswagen Group United Kingdom and Richard Peberdy, Head of Automotive, KPMG will also be joining the exciting line-up.

You can view the full agenda here, and, for more information on tickets, which members can obtain for free, sponsorship opportunities, or to register, please contact our events team via email at

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