SMMT offers cautious backing to May’s Brexit

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has welcomed Theresa May’s emphasis on negotiating single market arrangements for the automotive sector in her Brexit speech.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said, ‘The recognition by the Prime Minister of the importance of single market arrangements for the automotive sector is critical.

‘We need government to deliver a deal which includes participation in the customs union to help safeguard EU trade, trade that is tariff-free and avoids the non-tariff and regulatory barriers that would jeopardise investment, growth and consumer choice.

‘Achieving this will not be easy and we must, at all costs, avoid a cliff-edge and reversion to WTO tariffs, which would threaten the viability of the industry.’

Meanwhile, the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the UK’s largest transport trade association with around 16,000 members, also supports the Prime Minister’s vision of Britain’s likely future relationship with our European and global trading partners.

A truly global Britain, trading effectively with all nations, is something FTA welcomes, and the Association urges the government to progress bold and ambitious free trade agreements with key trading partners around the world as quickly as possible to ensure seamless business relationships can continue.

FTA also welcomes her commitment to ‘tariff-free and frictionless trade’ with the European Union and to ambitious free trade agreements with other partners globally.

Her statement allows FTA to identify where the new ‘friction points’ in international trade could occur and work with the government to negotiate the best possible outcome for UK businesses.

FTA’s ‘Keep Britain Trading’ conference on 15 March will provide a timely opportunity to examine and discuss the implications for new trade deals with other countries, and how potential customs tariffs and trade procedure barriers can be reduced when striking these new free trade agreements.

FTA will be examining the implications for Britain’s future trade with Europe arising from the Prime Minister’s statement. The degree of access to the European market agreed for the UK will be largely determined by the new free trade and new customs agreements, and these will be key topics of discussion during FTA’s conference.

The Prime Minister’s commitment to maintain the common travel area in Ireland is welcomed by FTA as this is one of the key issues of concern to its members.