Transitional Brexit deal vital for car industry

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has urged the government to secure a transitional Brexit deal to protect the future of the UK car industry.

As part of the call, the industry group has said that the UK should get an interim arrangement that will maintain membership of the single market and customs union until a final agreement on a new relationship with the EU is negotiated and implemented. This includes the need to address tariff and non-tariff barriers, regulatory and labour issues.

The SMMT argues that it is time to be ‘pragmatic about what can be achieved in the time available’ and what the consequences would be if the UK left without a deal.

The EU is the UK’s biggest automotive export market, taking over half our finished vehicles, four times as many as our next biggest 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 – 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 – and implement – 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.”

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