September 10, 2020 9:32 AM

Don't risk manufacturing trade war with our huge EU partners, Govt warned

The importance for manufacturing firms of trade with the EU has been “laid bare” with new figures showing the top six European markets account for a third of total UK exports for the sector – £117.4 billion.

The US is the single largest importer of UK manufactured products, but seven of the top 10 UK export markets are based in Europe, says the report by Make UK and Santander.

Commenting, Best for Britain CEO Naomi Smith said:

“With the publication of the Internal Markets Bill this week, the Government has, at a stroke, fired the first shots in what could be a trade war with our biggest trading partners.

“Europe is preparing to treat the UK as a competitor rather than a partner, and the powerful Irish lobby in the US is looking on with disbelief at the potential impact the Internal Markets Bill could have on Ireland.

“The recent Best for Britain report into the double-whammy impact of leaving our close trade relationship with the EU, coupled with the ongoing fallout from Covid-19, shows that some areas are particularly vulnerable, in particular North-West England and the Midlands – the last thing they need is a hostile EU trading environment.

“The Make UK-Santander report makes alarming reading, as it is based on cold, hard facts. If the Government doesn’t get serious about delivering the trade deals the British public were told would be so easy, the UK is soon going to learn tub-thumping and tantrums are no substitute for grown-up, mutually beneficial trade deals with our biggest allies.”

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