Manufacturers call for clarity on Brexit transition period
16 October 2017
Manufacturers across Europe have warned of becoming "economic collateral damage" if the Brexit stalemate continues.
Transitional arrangements must be delivered by the end of the year or supply chains are at risk of being irrevocably harmed, industry leaders said.
Members of Ceemet, which represents more than 200,000 firms in Europe, wants single market and customs unions arrangements to remain in place during the temporary period.
Director general Uwe Combuchen said: "EU and UK negotiators have a responsibility to ensure minimal disruption for businesses, for employers and employees and avoid a lose lose situation for manufacturers
"That is why companies across the continent want to see swift progress on transitional arrangements to avoid unintended consequences and economic collateral damage arising from a failure to agree an orderly exit."
Freedom of movement should continue and along with standard regulations during the transitional arrangements, the industry warned.
The transition should enable people to move freely across border to support supply chains and address the sector's skills gap, while a single regulatory environment, supported by mutual recognition and regulatory cooperation, must also continue during the interim period.
Terry Scuoler, chief executive officer of UK manufacturers’ organisation EEF, said: “As manufacturers we will continue to press hard for a smooth and orderly Brexit.
“A transitional period of at least two years remains a must for the sector.
“European businesses are making it clear that they too want a clear transition period delivered as soon as possible.
“The logjam in negotiations could damage industry unless there is a breakthrough on a transition deal.
“Clarity over this transition is essential to business both in the UK and the EU so we can continue to deliver prosperity and investment in jobs alongside economic growth.
“We need this clarity by the end of the year.”
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said: “The Government has woefully underestimated the scale of the task before it and the lack of any significant breakthrough in talks is the proof of this.
“Manufacturers and industry across the EU need guarantees, but the Government is increasingly heading for a no deal Brexit that will badly damage us for decades.
“A transition is at least better than no deal, but it must be a transition to a deal that effectively keeps the UK within the single market and customs union.”