Europe and International Trade

Delivering automotive priorities for UK/U.S. trade


The outcome of the ongoing negotiations between the UK and the U.S. are of great significance to many automotive companies, with the UK home to more than 30 sites dedicated to U.S. automotive manufacturers and supply chain companies.

As such, the UK and U.S. automotive sectors share a significant bilateral trading relationship. In 2019, the U.S. was the UK’s second largest export market after the EU, with 199,599 cars exported, and the sixth biggest import market, with 30533 cars arriving from across the Atlantic. The trading relationship in parts and components is also significant, with exports to the U.S. valued at £366 million in 2019. Meanwhile, the U.S. in the second largest import market after the EU, with 3.9% of parts, accessories and components imported from the U.S., worth £497 million.

As the UK looks to improve its trading relationship with the U.S., the UK automotive sector must be prioritised in upcoming negotiations.

UK automotive has the following priorities for the UK – U.S. trade agreement

Tariffs – The UK government should aim to secure an agreement on the progressive removal of tariffs on all automotive products.

Barriers to market access – The UK and U.S. should look to reduce existing and future regulatory barriers to trade and improve customs and trade facilitation procedures. The reduction of bilateral technical barriers to trade should not result in new obstacles to trade with other key trading partners, lower safety and environmental standards or UK-specific technical standards and regulations. The UK should also aim to build on previous market access discussions that took place during negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Customs facilitation measures – Both parties should mutually recognize the AEO (UK) status post-Brexit and the U.S. CTPAT program.

Rules of Origin – The parties should establish workable rules of origin that ensure preferential access to both markets.

Trade disputes – Negotiations must ensure that bilateral trade of preferential and non-preferential automotive products will not be undermined by additional tariffs in the future.

Labour mobility – Automotive would welcome measures to facilitate movement of personnel, professionals and business visitors.

Small Volume Manufacturers (SVMs) – An ambitious trade agreement should also include provisions reducing regulatory barriers for SVMs and provide adequate support and flexibilities for this industry segment.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) – SMMT welcomes early indications that a future agreement will include a specific SME chapter. Facilitations for automotive SMEs could help reduce entry costs.