After four rounds of challenging negotiations and ahead of the upcoming high-level conference between the EU and the UK on their future relationship, manufacturing heavyweights call for renewed impetus in the negotiations to find a solution for both sides, which is in the best interests of industry.
Challenging times for the MET sector
Ceemet represents the sector which is most likely to be adversely affected by a failure to reach an agreement on the future relationship by the end of this year. In this light, the leaders of the Metal, Engineering and Technology-based (MET) industries in Europe call on the negotiators on both sides of the channel to find a deal which is implementable for our industrial sector and gives business some clarity at this extraordinarily challenging time.
There are not separate EU and UK manufacturing sectors, there is only one European manufacturing ecosystem, made up of complex supply chains with regional specialities, which has delivered prosperity to those who operate within it.
Essentials for industry: mobility, minimise friction & give time to adjust
As the mandated social partner representing our sector at an EU level, the negotiations around issues of mobility is one of the key areas for Ceemet. EU companies sending workers to the UK, and vice versa, must see an agreement on this issue as they can’t wait for lengthy administrative processes. Otherwise, this would put in jeopardy the business models which our sector has built up over many decades.
Industry has come a long way on this topic and accepts the current reality of the negotiating positions of both sides. While we called for free and frictionless trade and full customs alignment, we recognise that this will not be fully achievable but urge the negotiators to prioritise minimising friction where it occurs and look for streamlined procedures around trade and customs.
Future Relationship: a 3rd way
However, there is a third way. A zero tariff and quota FTA, with appropriate commitments to fair competition and a level playing field, alongside rules of origin that are streamlined with preferential market access for affected sectors will go some way to delivering the regulatory environment manufacturers need. We also call for the highest possible levels of customs facilitation, maximising the use of technology, where it exists.
What will be essential is providing industry with time to adjust to this new relationship. We therefore call on both sides to strive to deliver the new relationship in a timetable which ensures that governments and businesses have the necessary clarity and understanding to avoid undue disruption, be this in the form of early agreement of these issues or allowing appropriate time for changes to be made in step with industry.
The UK has now left the EU, therefore we must ensure that the future relationship is realistic while ambitious in nature and built on the common ground which we have developed over many decades.
For further information please find the Ceemet Position Paper on MET industry priorities for the EU-UK Future Relationship
PDF - 261 K