The British public has chosen a new future out of Europe and safeguarding automotive interests will be a priority for SMMT in the coming months. Government must now maintain economic stability and secure a deal with the EU which safeguards UK automotive interests. UK automotive will work closely with government in this transition period to ensure interests of sector, jobs and investment are safeguarded and future competitiveness of this industry is secured. This includes securing tariff-free access to European and other global markets, ensuring we can recruit talent from the EU and the rest of the world and making the UK the most competitive place in Europe for automotive investment.
SMMT response to Brexit extension
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive said:
While we’ve avoided a ‘no deal’ Brexit on Friday, it is utterly unacceptable that, more than two years since negotiations started, industry still does not know what the UK’s relationship with the EU will be in the coming weeks and months. Uncertainty has already caused serious damage – car plants are on enforced shutdown, investment has been cut and jobs lost.
This cannot go on. Government and Parliament must use this extension purposefully to take ‘no deal’ off the table for good, and guarantee a positive long-term resolution that delivers frictionless trade. If they fail, we face yet another devastating ‘no deal’ precipice on 31 October.
SMMT’s priorities focus on five areas:
- Single Market – To achieve automotive priorities on tariff-free trade and avoiding non-tariff barriers, government must demonstrate how it intends to secure a future trade agreement with the EU that affords the automotive industry the benefits currently enjoyed as members of the Single Market.
- Customs – Under a new customs agreement with the EU, government should prioritise the free-flow of automotive goods at the border to avoid costs, maintain competitiveness and support the just-in-time manufacturing process. Key issues include continued application of common customs rules and procedures without burdensome checks or reporting.
- Talent – Government must address the needs of the automotive industry in its ability to recruit and access talent when assessing how the UK ends freedom of movement and implements new immigration controls. Key issues include access to labour to fill skills gaps and the current ability for automotive companies to quickly and easily move employees to address operational issues or support project teams.
- Regulation – Government should demonstrate how existing automotive regulation fits within plans for the ‘Repeal Bill’ and work through options for how future EU regulation affecting the UK automotive industry can be effectively implemented. Key issues include future influence on regulations affecting the UK automotive industry, the potential to create non-tariff barriers through regulatory divergence and the ability for the UK to type approve vehicles for the European market.
- Trade – Clarity is needed on how the UK will treat both existing EU Free Trade Agreements and those currently under negotiation. Key issues include establishing solutions to issues around Rules of Origin, understanding how existing preferential access to markets can be secured as well as benefits from regulatory discussions between the EU and other key markets.