The B Word.
Brexit. Brexit. Brexit. For a while, the word was everywhere. With a heavy dose of doom and gloom in its wake. But what has Brexit actually meant for the British engineering industry?
The immediate effects have a mix of both the positive and the negative.
Both imports and exports of the British automotive industry have roots in European trade, and the vote to leave the EU did throw uncertainty into the future of British manufacturing.
The decreased value of the pound could make British exports more attractive. However, this is countered by a raised cost of imports, and Britain’s losing its place at the negotiation table limits our influence in trade deals, a worrying prospect for the automotive industry, eager to avoid new import tariffs.
The necessity to continue to adhere to the EU’s product standards also appears a double-edged sword. One the one hand, EU red tape continues to guide British production, in order to maintain our trade with Europe. This is something that was a central complaint of the Vote Leave campaign, and yet has remained unchanged despite the referendum result. It is perhaps frustrating to see the pound’s value drop and a loss of confidence in British trade agreements, whilst the industry continues to produce exports to the same specifications, in order to continue to trade in Europe’s substantial market.
On the other hand, this does provide the reassurance of continued quality and standards in the products available to customers. Continued trade with European companies, through maintaining EU-regulated methods, could also work to protect Britain’s credibility within the global market.
Over the next two years, trade deals between Britain and Europe must undoubtedly change. Many in the industry believed Remain to be the better option for economic stability. As with many other industries post-Brexit, the automotive industry must, to some degree, wait and see, and strive for the best possible outcomes. As Britain negotiates its exit from the EU, we at NWP continue our thirty-five year commitment to our industry and to our customers.