The head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned that the UK’s car industry would suffer if a customs union agreement is not made with the European Union (EU) when Brexit happens.
"If we do not have a customs union, there are sectors of manufacturing society in the UK which risk becoming extinct," Paul Dreschler said, talking to the BBC.
Dreschler added that there is “zero evidence” that non-EU trade deals would help in any way, “It’s a myth,” he said.
Brexit has long been described as a threat to the UK’s car industry, with the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) claiming last year that damage has already been done, with domestic demand for UK-built cars falling across multiple months since the vote to leave the EU in June 2016.
Production figures recovered in April 2018, although 2018 so far remains down on the same period of 2017 by 3.9%.
“Real frictionless trade” is needed to prevent further damage to the UK’s car industry, said Dreschler, adding that the delays and increased costs from trade tariffs would be particularly damaging.
He said: ”We already know that hundreds of millions have been invested by UK pharmaceutical and finance companies to create continuity post a worse-case Brexit scenario. What could we have done with that money?"
A spokesman from the Government"s Department for Exiting the European Union said: "We are focused on delivering a Brexit that works for the whole of the UK, including businesses across the economy.
"We have laid out our approach to our withdrawal and future relationship with the EU in 14 detailed papers we published last summer, numerous speeches given by the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers and the technical notes and slides we published in recent weeks.
"We will soon publish a White Paper with detailed explanations of our ambition for a future relationship with the EU, building on the positions set out by the Prime Minister."
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