Our view: trade and investment, Balance of Competences | EEF

EEF submission to the trade and investment review of the Balance of Competences

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EEF submits its response to the trade and investment review of the Balance of Competences. 

  1. Trade and investment are vital to the health of the UK manufacturing sector. A significant proportion of manufacturing output is destined for markets overseas and foreign firms have invested a considerable amount in the sector – the stock of inward foreign direct investment in the manufacturing sector was approximately £135 billion in 2011. 
  2. Our members have benefited from the lower barriers to trade within Europe, the result of being part of the single European market and the customs union. Lowering trade and investment barriers with the rest of the world would be beneficial for the UK economy and UK manufacturers, bringing more jobs, higher wages, higher output and boosting economic growth. As such, greater liberalisation and the removal of barriers to trade and investment should be at the forefront of UK policy on these issues. 
  3. When thinking about the relationship between the UK and the EU in relation to trade an investment we believe: 
    1. Operating as part of a trading bloc strengthens both the UK and Europe’s bargaining power and ability to lower trade barriers and support investment;
    2. The European Commission plays an important role representing EU and UK interests in trade negotiations and the implementation of trade policy;
    3. Member states need to be able to promote their own advantages and use their international connections to attract trade and investment;
    4. Export and import controls and export credits are governed currently by international arrangements and therefore there would be little movement if the competence balance were to change;
    5. Free trade agreements and greater harmonisation are key opportunities for boosting UK trade and investment; 
    6. The current balance of competence over trade policy is integral to the functioning of the internal market and would, therefore, be difficult to change while remaining part of that market.


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