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SME manufacturers urge Boris Johnson to avoid no-deal Brexit

01 July, 2020

More than 100 UK SME manufacturers and organisations representing them have written to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, warning him that a no-deal or bad-deal Brexit would be “hugely damaging” to the UK economy, especially at a time when businesses are recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic. They are calling on him to secure the best possible trading arrangements to fight the pandemic and secure an economic recovery.

The signatories, who include the Manufacturing Technology Association and former Siemens CEO Juergen Maier, say that they represent more than 20,000 people across the UK. They are urging the PM to ensure continued alignment with EU regulatory bodies, and calling for the government to deliver new trading arrangements with full transparency and to start a meaningful engagement with the business community.

The letter was sent on 1 July – the day that marks the point-of-no-return for the need to agree an EU trade deal by the end of this year. The signatories warn the PM that he is taking “a huge gamble”, with the coronavirus pandemic having created an enormous economic shock across the UK and around the world.

Highlighting the Government’s own analysis, which suggests that a no-deal Brexit could result in a 8% reduction in the UK’s GDP in 15 years’ time, the businesses call for the tone and transparency of the negotiations to be reset over the coming six months.

The letter calls on the PM to ensure that the UK achieves the best possible trading arrangements with the EU and other countries. These arrangements should uphold the current high standards in areas such as state aid, social and employment standards, environment, climate change and tax.

Maier: not reopening old leave/remain divisions

The businesses call for continued alignment with EU regulatory bodies that will allow free flow of products, thus minimising non-tariff barriers.

“This is not a call to reopen old divisions about remaining or leaving,” says Juergen Maier. “What we need now is a common-sense approach to our relationship with the EU. The Government must deliver for us all, and on their promise to get a good deal, not a bad deal, and definitely not a no-deal.”

James Selka, CEO of the Manufacturing Technology Association adds that “manufacturers are by definition the innovators and traders of our economy. Supply chains are very integrated across the EU, thanks to the free movement of products facilitated by the single market over four decades. Any disruption caused due to non-tariff barriers caused by a bad EU trade deal will disrupt our businesses significantly at a time when we can least afford this.”

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