Brexit will have significant adverse effects on a UK manufacturing sector highly integrated with the EU single market, and that disruption will have a sizeable negative impact on the wider UK economy, a new report by UK in a Changing Europe finds. Funded by the Economic and Social Science Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, the Kings College London based initiative conducts independent research on UK-EU relations.
In widely reported remarks, Nissan COO Ashwani Gupta has reiterated the importance of UK-EU free trade to the future of its Sunderland manufacturing plant. The uncertainties connected with the Nissan Sunderland plant, in turn, serve as a reminder of the still-present Brexit risks.
A survey among of over 900 decision-makers within UK businesses has found that: 57 per cent of UK private sector organisations are considering expansion into new global markets in the near future as a result of COVID-19. The research, commissioned by One World Express, also found that 45 per cent of businesses say the pandemic has made them realise they are overly reliant on one market. At the same time, 44 per cent are looking to expand into markets outside of the Single Market due to Brexit.
The UK Department for International Trade has announced a new UK Global Tariff (UKGT). Announced on 19 May 2020, this replaces the EU’s Common External Tariff on 1 January 2021 at the end of the Brexit Transition Period. As it pertains to the tyre business, while there are various categories, the announcement basically means the new UKGT sees tyre duty reduced from 4.5% to 4.0%. Camel back rubber for use in retreading stays at 0%, while duties cushion industrial tyres are reduced to 2.0% from 2.5%.
Following the news that there will be a new EU tyre label in 2021, the Council of the European Union has announced that it will officially adopt its position relating to the new label on 25 February 2020. In short the new tyre label has been confirmed and will in time be extended to include retreads. At the same time, the rescaling of fuel efficiency and wet grip measures has been halted.
As the February 2020 issue of Tyres & Accessories goes to press, the United Kingdom is officially leaving the European Union after three years of intense dispute and debate. At the same time, 2019 wasn’t a great year for the automotive and tyre industries (see page 36 onwards for further details of what has transpired during the last 12 months). And with a no-deal scenario presenting the possibility of import tariffs on and parts, 2020 doesn’t look like it is going to be a whole bunch better. However, while the disappointing performance of the car and tyre markets is linked to Brexit, the issues are not one and the same.
CAM is introducing a new online payment gateway in April 2020 that will align with future trading conditions to be negotiated between the UK and its EU trading country partners in the months ahead. It will also meet the SCA (Strong Customer Authentication) Regulation, part of the EU Revised Directive on Payment Services, which came into force on 14 September 2019, aimed at reducing fraudulent crime associated with online debit and credit card payments.
Car production in the UK fell by 16.5 per cent year-on-year in November, with figures from the Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showing that 107,753 units were manufactured during the month. Output for home and overseas markets declined 26.6 per cent and 14.2 per cent respectively.
UK car manufacturing output fell -4.0 per cent in October, with 134,752 units rolling off production lines, 5,622 fewer than October 2018, new Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) figures show. British car production has now fallen in 16 of the last 17 months, with August the outlier. ‘No deal’ Brexit contingency shutdowns earlier in the year artificially boosted output that month.
“It is vital that the government agrees a Brexit deal with the EU. If it cannot, then prices will rise as a result of the import tariffs that will be paid on vehicles and parts. It is in everyone’s interests that a future trade deal between the UK and EU removes these tariffs,” said RMI Chairman Peter Johnson, speaking at this year’s 106th Retail Motor Industry Federation annual dinner in London on 10 October.
In addition to impacting upon the UK’s automotive industry, a no-deal Brexit presents complications for online tyre and car parts businesses. To gain an insight into changes in customer purchasing habits as Brexit approaches, courier express parcel company DPDgroup tasked market research institute GfK with assessing trends in e-commerce. GfK surveyed 24,258 e-shoppers in 21 European countries on behalf of DPDgroup. What it found was that the payment of additional taxes and duties, as well as longer delivery times, could prove a stumbling block to the future development of cross-border e-commerce in Europe.
With fewer than 20 days to go before the UK is due to leave the EU, the British automotive industry is urging an end to talk of ‘no deal’ and for all sides to focus energies on an orderly withdrawal to safeguard jobs and the sector’s long-term survival. The call comes as the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) publishes the results of a new survey revealing the escalating fears of an industry dependent on free and frictionless trade with the EU.