CEO Update

Protecting open trade is a green light for growth and innovation

19 January 2024 #CEO Update

As a global player and Britain’s largest exporter by value, UK Automotive thrives from strong trading relationships, reliable supply chains and open trade routes – a fact made stark by recent global events, from the pandemic to the war in Ukraine and the current situation in the Red Sea. Auto businesses are, of course, adapting their strategies to manage the issue and SMMT is maintaining contact with industry and government to share information, provide guidance and identify ways to facilitate smoother trade.

Even as the UK scales up its domestic supply chain capacity, given the complexity of global supply chains and geopolitical volatility, this week’s launch of government’s Critical Imports and Supply Chains Strategy was welcome. The strategy, which SMMT and our members helped shape, will support manufacturing agility and responsiveness and we look forward to continuing this vital engagement.

Open trade is crucial to ensuring that our industry remains competitive, continues to innovate and delivers the economic growth, jobs and decarbonisation that Britain needs. At the same time, it means motorists have access to a breadth of brands, models and competitive prices.

Manufacturers also continue to adapt their products to meet the changing tastes and needs of customers, from zero emission powertrains, to connected and advanced driver assistance technologies. Cars are more than just a way for people to enjoy mobility – they are a solution to their needs, an expression of their identity, and a crucial agent in driving environmental improvement.

As record numbers of zero emission vehicles join Britain’s roads, delivering our ambitious decarbonisation goals depends on all stakeholders continuing to do their utmost to ensure that supply of – and demand for – those vehicles is safeguarded. With a Budget due in about six weeks, SMMT will be submitting its proposals to HM Treasury shortly, making the case for a competitive environment for the sector and a supportive fiscal framework for consumers, especially those that are investing in the latest, greenest technologies.

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