UK Trade with the EU: a new trading order for the manufacturing industry

PUBLISHED 27 Mar 2017


EEF urges Government to clarify its position on the customs union and customs arrangements as manufacturers reject ‘no deal’ Brexit mantra as a lose-lose scenario for the UK and EU.

In this briefing, EEF warns that a loss of access to both the single market and the customs union would condemn the manufacturing sector to a painful and costly Brexit. Any suggestion that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ is simply unacceptable to an industry that accounts for 45% of all UK exports.

The UK is currently the 9th largest industrial nation in the world, but its strength is underpinned by its trading relationship with the EU - 52% of all manufactured exports by value went to the EU in the 12 months to April 2016. The sector’s trading relationship with the EU is tightly interwoven and complex pan-European supply chains are commonplace, with some EEF members reporting that their production processes criss-cross European borders numerous times.

“The EU is our sector’s single biggest trading partner in a complex, tightly interwoven trading environment. Undermining the building blocks of this relationship – the single market and the customs union – without any other supportive structure in place would undoubtedly hurt our industry and condemn us to a painful and costly Brexit. The idea of being able to walk away empty-handed might be a negotiating tactic, but it would in reality deliver a risky and expensive blow. The rhetoric from the UK Government needs to focus instead on achieving a deal that will work for the UK and the EU.” Terry Scuoler, CEO, EEF

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