RMI calls for Brexit clarity on future trade with EU

RMI Chairman Peter Johnson has again called for the government to get a deal done over Brexit, calling the current situation ‘unacceptable’.

Speaking at the RMI dinner in London, Johnson told guests that it was vital that the UK agrees a deal with the EU which includes free trade. 

“It is in everyone’s interests that a future trade deal between the UK and EU removes these tariffs,” he said. 

“Whilst we have been part of the EU, we have become accustomed to frictionless and tariff-free trade between the UK and the other countries of the EU.  It has meant that automotive parts can be delivered quickly from wherever they are made or held in stock and vehicles can be ordered and transported across borders in minimal time.

“Considering the automotive sector provides direct employment for over 800,000 people, it is essential that the government makes a commitment to outline a clear and beneficial deal in order to ensure our industry has what it needs to secure its future success.”

Johnson also spoke about vehicle electrification and the need for industry to be prepared for new technologies while also discussing the fall of the diesel market, highlighting that their reputation has been trashed.

Brexit worries

The automotive industry is concerned that a no-deal Brexit will cause havoc with imports and exports. Carmaker Volkswagen has already announced it will stockpile cars in the country and will be unable to absorb tariff costs, having to pass these onto customers. There are also concerns around Nissan’s Sunderland plant, which has cancelled production plans, cut shifts and is rumoured to be moving production of two SUV models out of the country.

“Leaving without a deal would be the worst outcome,” SMMT chief Mike Hawes told Reuters in September. “Investment in the UK has effectively stopped, as investors fear no-deal. That will make it very difficult to continue to have certainty and confidence to invest in the UK.”

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