CEO Update

Driving a strong EU-UK relationship

31 March 2022 #CEO Update

Some two years later than planned, SMMT this week officially launched its EU office, hosting an automotive reception in Brussels – among the first such events in the city since Covid restrictions recently eased. With the pandemic hopefully moving into the rear-view mirror, the return of face-to-face events such as this are important if we are to reconnect with EU partners and stakeholders given our new relationship post Brexit.

It goes without saying that the EU remains our most important trading partner and it was fantastic to welcome representatives from government, members and other important stakeholders to focus on the future of our engagement. This was an opportunity for long-established trusted relationships not just to be sustained but to thrive and my thanks to Sigrid de Vries, Secretary General, CLEPA and Esther Lynch, Deputy General Secretary, the European Trade Union Confederation for speaking on the night.

Regulation, driving down emissions, moving from ICE to EV production, supply chain resilience and the future of connected and automated vehicles are just some of the shared issues across the Channel. The U.K. automotive sector is amongst the most diverse of all global automotive locations and our industry often has specific needs. Our Brussels office allows us to engage with regulators and stakeholders, those helping set the agenda for European industry and society. It is important that the UK is not overlooked, both as a major market, manufacturer and centre of innovation.

We believe the success of the wider European automotive industry benefits all and only by continuing and enhancing co-operation on matters such as these can we deliver shared ambitions, ultimately driving new jobs, growth and cleaner, safer mobility for everyone across Europe and the UK.

I am also delighted to say that our first in-person Regional Forum since before the pandemic is taking place next month 5 May in Sunderland, and that Alan Johnson, Vice President Manufacturing, Nissan UK Sunderland Plant, will deliver a keynote, along with Mick Flanagan, Vice President, Customer Group, Adient and Graham Hoare, President, Global Operations, Britishvolt.

SMMT Regional Forum North-East will provide a platform for discussion on the opportunities and challenges for the automotive industry in the region and some 200 senior automotive delegates, from a wide range of companies including vehicle manufacturers, global and local suppliers, are expected to attend.

This is a must-attend event for those looking to network with key contacts within the UK automotive industry and seminar sessions will highlight how companies are responding to the challenge of net zero, levelling up opportunities and developing products and technologies that will secure the automotive footprint in the region. Registration for this event is now open, click here to do so, and SMMT members benefit from free tickets. I look forward to welcoming many of you in person on the day.

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