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Brexit from the other side


The British Prime Minister Theresa May has signed a letter which will formally begin the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU). It has been delivered to the EU Commission and this will trigger Article 50 and the formal process of Brexit commences.

We will read lots of comment in our own press in the week ahead, so below we look at what some UK based organisations have to say – Brexit from the other side.

Following the triggereing of Brexit today, the British Government is now under pressure to make a trade deal with the European Union. One example being quoted is to avoid World Trade Organisation (WHO) tariffs in two years time, that could see an average of £1,500 added to the price of a new car in the UK. Some experts say it’s bigger than that – it’s a race against time to secure a deal that safeguards the future of the UK automotive industry.

Current WTO tariffs are 10 per cent for cars and 2.5 – 4.5 per cent for parts. The SMMT reckons that a 10 per cent tariff would add £1.8 billion to the cost of fully assembled cars exported from the UK and £2.7bn to those imported from the EU. And that is how it would calculate an added £1,500 to the cost of every one sold in the UK.

Europe is Britain’s biggest market by far. A total figure for automotive trade with the EU is quoted at being worth more than £42 billion which is over 650 per cent bigger that of their next biggest trading partner, the USA.

The UK automotive industry employs more than 800,000 people across the country, including manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and the aftermarket, contributing £18.9 billion to the economy.

This means a need for certainty in the relationship between Britain and their biggest market. So for example will it secure tariff-free and open borders so that all automotive products can flow freely.