EURIS Taskforce urges government to avoid No-Deal Brexit

Posted on 9 Jan 2019 by The Manufacturer

The Prime Minister has received another letter saying a 'No-Deal Brexit' would damage UK manufacturing. This time, it's from a trade body representing 13 separate trade associations that employ over 1 million workers.

And four in ten (43%) said Brexit would have a positive impact on their business - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
The chairman of EURIS Taskforce Dr Howard Porter said the government’s No-Deal Brexit contingency plans have been “wholly inadequate, shortsighted and very late” – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

EURIS Taskforce is an advisory body for the potential impacts of the changing relationship between the UK and EU on product manufacturers and suppliers. It says a No-Deal Brexit would severely damage the current relationship.

The EURIS Taskforce had already written a letter to Theresa May in July outlining the risks a No-Deal Brexit would cause. It was co-signed by over 200 companies including the CEOs of some of Britain’s biggest engineering firms. 

In a new letter, the chairman of the EURIS Taskforce, Dr Howard Porter reiterates some of those dangers. He declared that a No-Deal Brexit would result in major long-term damage to the UK manufacturing sector and weaken the industrial product supply sector’s £148bn pound contribution to the UK economy.

“Of particular concern,” he says, “are the potential costs of regulatory compliance and administration placed on exporters and importers in the UK under a No-Deal, which many believe will be too hard to bear for some companies.”

Dr Porter referred to a September 2018 paper which analysed the costs of a No-Deal Brexit. The report said: ‘No deal would create immediate trade barriers for the UK and cause significant long-term damage to our markets.’

Speaking to The Manufacturer, the chairman derided the government’s No-Deal Brexit contingency plans. He stated:

“EURIS believes the government’s No-Deal Brexit contingency preparations have been wholly inadequate shortsighted and very late, as a result there are likely to be significant initial and longer term implications. We of course very much hope that this undesired outcome will not come to pass.”

Heathcoat Fabrics has completed a £3m worth of renewable energy installations across its UK-based factory - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
Among the organisations EURIS Taskforce represents are the Renewable Energy Association, which consists of around 500 companies – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

Though he could not provide exact numbers, he said that many EURIS members had undertaken No-Deal Brexit preparations, with numerous firms increasing their levels of stock.

But he remarked: “Anecdotally we do not believe that many companies have taken any further firm actions.”

The letter also stated that individual EURIS members would be writing to their constituency MPs highlighting their worries.

Among the organisations that EURIS Taskforce represents are the British Plastics Federation, the Renewable Energy Association, the Federation of Environmental Trade Associations, the Manufacturing Technologies Association, and the British Cables Association. In total, the body represents trade associations employing 1.1 million workers.

In 2017, it created its ‘Six Principles‘ which it claims are “essential to the growth and expansion of the product suppliers industry and the competitiveness of UK manufacturers after Brexit.”

They are EU-UK regulatory alignment, a five-year transition period, the maintenance and enhancement of existing UK market surveillance and enforcement operations, frictionless trade across borders, the prioritising of trade negotiations, and easy access to skilled labour.

In related news, the ADS Group, which represents the aerospace, defence, security and space industry, has called on MPs to approve the Withdrawal Agreement and have invited MPs to meet them in Parliament to discuss the association’s support for the Withdrawal Agreement.

Its chief executive Paul Everitt said that a No-Deal Brexit would be “the worst possible outcome and would bring significant disruption to industry in the UK and Europe, damaging jobs and growth.”

The group says that approving the Withdrawal Agreement would give businesses “vital breathing space,” and allow the government the time to negotiate a comprehensive deal regarding future UK-EU relations.

This week, Aston Martin announced it was implementing its No-Deal Brexit arrangements. It has hired a new supply chain chief and prepared to fly in parts and order then weeks in advance.

The day before, EEF, the manufacturers’s organisation released a survey showing that delays at customs was a risk for almost four fifths of companies (76%), making frictionless trade a critical factor in manufacturing’s success in a post-Brexit Britain.

Responding to the survey’s findings, EEF’s chief executive Stephen Phipson bluntly stated that: “No deal is simply not an option for UK manufacturers.”

UPDATE: 10th January – National Farmers Union letter

Britain’s four major farming unions have written a letter to the Prime Minister warning that a no-deal Brexit could see “catastrophic impacts” for the farming sector.

It warned that a no-deal Brexit would cause huge disruption to farmers who export their products, cause massive tariffs, and result in more agricultural imports being produced to lower standards.

They say agricultural food exports to the EU could face tariffs of 27% on chicken, 46% on lamb and 65% on beef. According to NFU figures, around 60% of UK food, feed and drink exports went to EU countries in 2017.

The letter was signed by the NFU, NFU Cymru, NFU Scotland and Ulster Farmers’ Union. They said that for the first time in a generation, “UK politicians will have direct responsibility for ensuring our nation is properly fed.”

The farming unions reiterated their commitment to ensuring that farming remains strong post-Brexit, but it warned that many farmers would struggle to survive in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

They asserted a no-deal Brexit would have major ramifications, “not only for domestic food supply but for the careful management of our cherished countryside, would represent an historic political failure.”

On the upside, Japan has announced it will remove its export ban on British beef and lamb, which has been in place since the mad cow disease epidemic in 1996.

Reporting by Harry Wise