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01 Aug 2014

What would leaving the EU mean for British Manufacturers?

What would leaving the EU mean for British Manufacturers?

When it comes to whether the UK should stay in the EU or leave, the general populous is split  down the middle. Four in ten want to leave, four in ten want to stay and the remainder don’t know. However according to The Manufacturer’s Organization (EEF) just over 85% of manufacturers believe it is in the interests of their business that the UK remains part of the EU.

Below are just some of the factors to consider if the UK were to leave the EU.

 

Trade

Currently the EU’s single market has 3 tools it uses to boost trade. These are:

  • Elimination of tariffs on goods.
  • Reduction of the cost to potential exporters, who would otherwise have to comply with a different set of rules for each of the member-states.
  • Confirmation of the rights of companies and people to sell their goods, service or labour, or to invest in other member-states.

If the UK were to leave the EU the average tariffs on goods would push up their price in European markets, reducing the UK’s competiveness. We would also need to create new trade agreements with the EU member-states, where much of our trade is conducted.

The UK is a huge market for European firms, the EU’s single largest export market, putting us in a strong position to negotiate trade agreements. However in order to export in the European markets, the UK will still have to observe the European regulations, potentially resulting in double the red tape.

Once out of the EU the UK could join either the European Economic Area or the European Free Trade Association:

  • European Economic Area (EEA) –
    • Being a member of the EEA would put us in the same boat as Norway, still a part of the single market subject to all the EU’s regulations, but without the benefit of being able to shape them.
  • European Free Trade Association (EFTA) –
    • This would mean that any business done with European countries would have to be done through bilateral deals, with all regulations aligning with those made by the EU. 

 

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