Trade secretary warns EU against post-Brexit manufacturing tariff barriers
21 Feb 2018
The European Union will suffer if it chooses to create new tariff barriers with the United Kingdom, minister Liam Fox has told the EEF conference.
The international trade secretary, who was keynote guest speaker at the manufacturing organisation’s event, said any such move would be counter-productive for the economies of the 27 states that will remain members of the union after Britain’s withdrawal.
Warned Fox: “If Europe erects barriers to trade and investment that do not exist today, it will make [the EU] less competitive in a global context and less attractive to international investors.”
Any further barriers erected, post-Brexit, would harm the trading relationship between the union and the UK and would be opposed by the Government, stated Fox.
We want to protect the interests of British manufacturers [and] to maintain your access to markets across Europe and beyond
Liam Fox, Secretary of State for International Trade
In a statement aimed at overcoming scepticism among many businesses about the benefits of EU withdrawal, Fox insisted the aim would be enhance opportunities globally.
“We want to protect the interests of British manufacturers [and] to maintain your access to markets across Europe and beyond,” he said.
The minister added that new Brexit legislation would ensure the UK was able to continue trading arrangements created under the auspices of the European Union with non-EU countries.
The legislation would “give us the tools we need to fight back against any unfair subsidies or dumping from abroad”, insisted the trade secretary.
Fox’s reference to the government commitment to increase R&D to 3% of UK GDP drew a response from Lee Myall, SVP Sales at Interoute. He warned the biggest challenge for British manufacturing firms was the ability to integrate legacy technologies with cloud-enabled applications.
Said Myall: “With 93% of manufacturers harbouring ambitions for growth, many want to know their organisation is flexible enough to deliver value.
“What’s needed now is flexible IT platforms that can enable, not inhibit, change. Manufacturers need a flexible backbone that connects legacy infrastructure with digital applications to support continuous change and drive a competitive edge.”