Trade body EURIS has published its ‘Five Principles for Success in the Post Brexit Landscape’. FEA is part of EURIS, which represents 1.1m employees and UK manufacturing worth £148bn in turnover. It was created in 2016 to help shape the UK’s future relationship with Europe.
The five principles are:
1. International Regulatory Co-operation: In the immediate term there are minimal technical barriers to trade between GB, NI and the EU as product regulations are identical. As these regulations are modified in the UK or EU, there is a risk that products that were formerly traded freely between the UK and EU Internal Markets will become barred due to non-compliance.
EURIS proposes a new industry-government plan to develop the right policies and approaches to manage regulatory co-operation for product regulations. This would facilitate access to European markets and the vast array of global markets and allow the UK to become the world-leader in genuinely rules-based free trade.
2. UK Market Surveillance Operations: The UK market for products is amongst the most well-regulated in the world and we need to work together to ensure this remains the case. There is a considerable risk that if there is any regulatory divergence on safety or environmental performance, the UK could become a ‘dumping ground’, for products that would not be compliant with current UK standards.
EURIS believes that the maintenance and enhancement of existing UK market surveillance and enforcement operations, in co-operation with the EU, will eliminate unsafe and non-compliant products from the market.
3. Efficient Borders: The efficiency of trade across borders would allow both the product supply industry and those industries we supply parts to, such as the aerospace and automotive industries, to remain competitive in the modern world economy.
EURIS believes the UK and EU should work to develop customs and border processes that are world-leading to minimise the administration burden that currently applies as ‘third-county’ traders. This could reduce the need for special measures for the Northern Ireland border and also can serve as a model for future streamlined trade with other FTA partners.
4. Trade Negotiations Prioritised: Trade is the key driver of growth and prosperity and is crucial to both the future of the product supply sector, and the competitiveness of those sectors to which we supply, as the supply chain involves both imports and exports. Of crucial importance is that trade negotiations work in a harmonised way to ensure that gains from new FTAs do not lead to added frictions in current FTA markets.
The EU is overwhelmingly the biggest market for UK products and continued prosperity and growth depends on maintaining excellent trading conditions. Both the continuance and enhancement of current FTAs, such as with Japan, are crucial and new FTA negotiations should be on the basis of creating the maximum harmony in the trading requirements that apply. Most importantly, new FTA terms must depend on the application of recognised international technical standards.
5. Access to Skilled Labour: The UK is a hub for international talent and this must carry on post Brexit with the UK continuing to attract the brightest and the best employees from around the world. Recruiting the finest talent possible, without bureaucracy and delays, will ensure that small and large businesses across the UK are able to continue to invest and grow.
To ensure this remains the case, EURIS believes that it is essential that the current focus on salary levels as indicating whether a position is ‘skilled’ is modified. Many vital roles in the production of technical products are filled by non-UK staff but, while requiring significant skills, are not always at highest salary level to protect UK consumers from price rises.
FEA chair Steve Hobbs commented: “This is a road map to making the best out of Brexit. The Five Principles are essential to the growth and expansion of the industrial product supply sector and the competitiveness of UK manufacturers as the UK begins its new relationship with the EU.”
“Right now business is facing numerous issues associated with Brexit – hopefully they will be teething problems. For example, we are hearing a lot about UK ports being bypassed. It’s not just about trade with Europe. There are difficulties with China – we’ve been told that, on average, container costs have risen ten-fold.
“January 2021 was just the start of Brexit. FEA and EURIS will continue to work with legislators and lobby officials to ensure the interests of foodservice equipment suppliers, and UK Plc as a whole, are represented at the highest levels of government.”
He added: “We believe these principles will help ensure the industrial product supply sector, and indeed the wider UK manufacturing sector, continue to thrive in the years ahead. We look forward to working with EURIS and the government on these principles.”