Difficult to believe, but as the industry recovers from the pandemic, in just 15 weeks from today we will face another existential crisis as the Brexit transition period expires. So, this week European automotive industry leaders have joined forces to call for the EU and UK to secure an ambitious free trade agreement (FTA) without further delay.
Negotiators on both sides must now pull out all the stops to avoid ‘no deal’ at the end of the transition, which according to new calculations would cost the pan-European automotive sector some €110 billion in lost trade over the next five years.
We urgently need a deal that delivers zero tariffs, modern rules of origin and avoids different regulations across the Channel to protect the jobs of over 14.6 million workers across the EU and UK.
But, with most of the media focus being on big political issues such as Northern Ireland, it’s easy for people to miss some critical issues that could have an immediate effect on their daily lives. In particular the logistics sector, where disruption at UK borders from January 1 could result in queues of 7,000 lorries in Kent, and two-day delays to cross into the EU.
The reported general lack of cross-government preparation, and a core IT system for hauliers that is not expected to be tested publicly until the end of November, will mean that whatever happens, we will need to prepare as much as possible to reduce the likelihood of trade disruption and the potential knock-on impact on just-in-time deliveries so crucial for automotive production.