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Working together to navigate Brexit:

13 September 2018

The topic of Brexit is a daily, if not hourly discussion in companies across the UK. To help its members and end-users speak with a unified voice and help influence UK Government policy, BCAS is now a key member of the EURIS taskforce, an advisory body that examines the potential impacts of the changing relationship between the UK and EU for the UK Government, manufacturers and the media 

Boardroom conversations about Brexit focus on the impact of any future trade deal and what terms can be agreed for the UK's largest market for goods and services.  Elsewhere, employment issues are a growing concern, with industries such as construction and agriculture, which are heavily dependent on EU labour, placing mounting pressure on Government to provide assurances that staffing will not be affected.

Amongst this political backdrop – and as negotiations continue at pace – the industry is now reaching a point where it is time to take joint action to ensure it is fully prepared and able to continue to provide best advice and support for its customers. 

EURIS covers sectors responsible for more than 25% of total UK goods imports and exports with a turnover of more than £110 billion. The body’s key driver is to make sure that manufacturers and suppliers in the UK are able to realise new growth potential through the Brexit process.

'No deal' concern

For instance, only very recently EURIS wrote to the Prime Minister to express concern over a ‘no deal’ scenario. Representing more than 3000 companies in the electrical, electronic and mechanical engineering industries, EURIS outlined how this could cause enormous disruption to UK industry and risk substantial economic damage to its organisations for a range of reasons. In short, a ‘no deal’ scenario would deter investment, lead to higher operational costs, cause supply delays to UK customers, and result in deviation from EU product regulations.

One immediate area that EURIS is looking to highlight is EU-UK regulatory alignment. Adopting or mirroring EU technical product regulations for the long-term is essential for product manufacturers to import and export from the EU post Brexit. Any deviation has the potential to cause considerable confusion, uncertainties and costs. This may result in companies leaving the European markets, at significant economic cost to the UK.

EURIS proposes a new industry-Government plan to develop the right policies and approaches to ensure no regulatory divergence for product regulations. This would facilitate access to European markets and the vast array of global markets that also look for compliance with European legislation and standards as the basis for trade.

To realise new growth potential through the Brexit process, industry needs certainty and continuity, particularly in relation to regulations and standards. This will help organisations to continue trading, innovating and growing.

In conclusion, the challenges are clearly numerous, and it is therefore in interests of industry that organisations with common interests work together on those areas that impact their member network. BCAS is delighted to be able to work with 12 other trade association as part of EURIS, to create a united voice for British industry.

EURIS has launched a new report entitled ‘Securing a competitive UK manufacturing industry post Brexit’. Responding to a survey by EURIS and independent experts at The UK Trade Policy Observatory (UKTPO), 83% of industrial product manufacturers support continued regulatory alignment in order to remain competitive in a global market with respondents overwhelmingly saying they see no benefit in moving away from the EU regulatory system for industrial and manufactured products.  

The full report can be viewed here: http://www.euristaskforce.org/position-papers/securing-competitive-uk-manufacturing-industry-post-brexit/