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UK's auto industry in a fix.

Now that Britain has officially triggered "Article 50" to demand an exit from the EU, the auto industry in the UK fears a "disastrous impact" of European tariffs likely to be imposed on British exports. The auto industry has called on the authorities to allow tariff-free access to the EU as a condition for its continued investment in the UK. Jim Farley, CEO and chairman of Ford Europe, has been quoted as saying in a statement: "Any deal must include securing tariff-free trade with the wider Customs Union and not just the EU27, whilst retaining access to the best talent and resources." While British politicians wrangle about "no deal is better than a bad deal" with Europe, the UK auto industry association said it would continue to work with the government and its European counterparts because "no deal is not an option" for the industry. BMW said the UK government should take into consideration views of global companies during the talks particularly on the issue of tariff-free access to Europe. The company went further to demand "cross-border employment opportunities and unified, internationally applied regulations." BMW also said it is "reviewing its factories in the UK with the flexibility to move production elsewhere if necessary." Meanwhile, Toyota said it would invest $294 million in a UK plant to build vehicles on a new platform but warned that continued tariff-free access to Europe's single market is crucial. Colin Lawther, Nissan vice president, said that a 10 percent tariff on exports of Qashqai built in the UK and up to 4.5 percent tariffs on auto parts would have a "pretty disastrous impact on Nissan's profits." These tariffs would cost Nissan $620 million making relocation to Europe a viable option. If there were no deal with the EU, the UK would be forced to fall back on World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. While Brexit negotiations are likely to continue for at least two years, the auto industry in the UK is suspended on a cliffhanger - not being able to plan for expansion, commit to further investment or ensure job security to their employees. UK politicians cannot afford to walk out of Europe with no deal. * Adel Murad is a senior motoring and business journalist based in London.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 9, 2017
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