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