‘Clumsy’ Brexit deal could do lasting damage says EEF
21 Sep 2016
A report by EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, suggests that rushed Brexit negotiations could do lasting damage to the UK manufacturing sector and the wider economy.
Rather than rushing Brexit, the report – ‘Britain and the EU: manufacturing an orderly exit’ – calls on government to “deliver a carefully-engineered plan that supports investment, ensures business certainty and allows manufacturers to play a full and unfettered role in helping the UK achieve post-EU economic and global trading success”.
In the short-term we want government to provide regulatory and policy certainty, but in the longer-term there is clearly opportunity to pull back from EU regulation where it does not work for the UK
EEF CEO Terry Scuoler
The report also urges the UK to “hold its nerve” and negotiate a bespoke deal, which addresses the UK’s needs and recognises the “special relationship” the UK has with the EU.
EEF has described well-negotiated trade deals as fundamental, and has called specifically for government to address the uncertainty around the Customs Union.
“A solution should be sought that enables manufacturers to continue to trade freely with the EU, without significant burden,” EEF said.
However, EEF also wants the UK to pursue "ambitious" international trade deals with countries outside the Bloc.
“If harnessed, [these deals] could support jobs, growth and wealth generation in the UK. According to the report, just two in 10 manufacturers (21%) are not interested in taking advantage and the sector’s horizon is broad, with the US, China, India and Canada, topping the trade wishlist,” EEF said.
Terry Scuoler, chief executive officer at EEF, said ambitions surrounding jobs, growth and wealth generation tally with those of the government and the voting public, "who want to see post-Brexit Britain exporting and manufacturing more, as well as achieving a better balanced economy".
But despite this, Scuoler said any deal with the EU must include unrestricted access to the single market, which would ensure companies have the ability to hire and post employees across the EU – albeit with more controls in place.
“In the short-term we want government to provide regulatory and policy certainty, but in the longer-term there is clearly opportunity to pull back from EU regulation where it does not work for the UK,” he added.
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