20.6.2017UK automotive sector calls for interim Brexit deal
The SMMT has called on the UK Government to agree an interim arrangement with the European Union that would continue the country's single market status until a final deal on Brexit is implemented.
To prevent manufacturers in the country from being faced with a 'cliff edge' and forced to trade under World Trade Organisation rules - which it states is the worst possible outcome for the industry - the SMMT says that such an interim agreement must be made.
Although accepting that the UK will leave the EU, and supportive of a bespoke agreement on a new relationship with Europe, the SMMT considers that such a deal will not be able to be agreed upon by March 2019. The EU is by far the UK automotive sector's largest export market, with more than half of the vehicles produced heading there - four times as many as the next largest market.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: "We accept that we are leaving the European Union and we share the desire for that departure to be a success. But our biggest fear is that, in two years' time, we fall off a cliff edge â€“ no deal, outside the single market and customs union and trading on inferior WTO terms. This would undermine our competitiveness and our ability to attract the investment that is critical to future growth.
"That's why we have to be honest with ourselves. If the UK cannot secure â€“ and implement â€“ a bespoke and comprehensive new relationship with the EU in two years' time, we need a back-up plan. Having looked at all the alternatives, we need government to seek an interim arrangement whereby we stay within the single market and customs union until that new relationship is implemented."
Image above courtesy of Nissan, showing Nissan Leaf's on the production line at Sunderland.