Open letter from body representing 3,000 companies in sectors such as mechanical engineering raises stark industry fears over a failure to ensure clear commitment to EU customs arrangement
A ‘no deal’ Brexit arrangement and a failure to secure a viable customs arrangement between the UK and EU should be avoided at all costs, an open letter to the UK government from the EURIS advisory body has urged.
Advisory body chair Dr Howard Porter has written to Prime Minister Theresa May on behalf of its members, warning of significant industry concerns about a failure to reach an agreement with the EU around its future relationship with the UK.
EURIS, which represents thousands of companies and brings together manufacturing and mechanical engineering bodies such as BEAMA and FETA, has been working closely with the government, as well as its European industry counterparts in recent months on Brexit planning. This work is focused on helping inform the government’s final approach to Brexit in line with industry concerns on minimising cost and delays facing UK business after the country’s exit from the EU
EURIS said it also seeks to ensure some ongoing influence where possible in helping develop standards and regulation that will impact members.
Dr Porter said that EURIS viewed the broad plan for Brexit that had been agreed by the Cabinet earlier this month at a retreat in Chequers as encouraging in that it recognised a need for regulatory alignment for goods such as technology components. Uncertainty nonetheless remains over the final approach the government will look to take following several high-profile resignations in the days after the summit, including the departure of Brexit secretary David Davis.
Dr Porter said, “We are still very concerned by the possibility of a ‘no deal’ scenario. This outcome would cause enormous disruption to UK industry and risk substantial economic damage to all of our companies.”
He added that the current approach to Brexit had already led to significant concerns about the potential impact on investment, both from international companies looking to enter or expand in the UK and in ensuring financial certainty for SMEs.
Higher operational costs and supply delays of key components needed by UK firms were raised in the letter as other fears about a disorderly Brexit that fails to reach key agreements with the EU on regulatory issues.
EURIS added that it was vital to ensure UK products would continue to be compatible with key EU regulation and that there was sufficient means to ensure compliance.
Dr Porter said, “To realise new growth potential through the Brexit process industry needs certainty and continuity, particularly in relation to regulations and standards. Certainty will enable UK manufacturers to continue to trade, innovate and grow – without it, the industries represented by EURIS will cease to flourish in the UK.”