Coalition of manufacturers warns on ‘lose-lose’ Brexit for both sides – INTELLINEWS

Brexit negotiators have been warned that the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal would be a “lose-lose” outcome for thousands of manufacturing firms on both sides.

The warning came from Brussels-based manufacturing group CEEMET, which includes the UK’s EEF as well as bodies from France, Germany and Italy, together representing 200,000 firms.

As Theresa May prepared to trigger Article 50, the Government was urged to help secure a deal on trade that would help preserve the “life-blood” of Britain’s future economic success.

Separately, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published figures outlining the central importance of the trade in goods with the continent.

CEEMET urged a pragmatic approach from both sides saying it was not in the interest of either the UK or EU to see a “cliff-edge” outcome damaging investment opportunities and business confidence.

It called for a “stable and orderly exit, preserving as much as possible the often complex and delicate trading relationships that are in place”.

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Terry Scuoler, chief executive of EEF, said: “These negotiations are likely to be amongst the toughest and most critical the UK has ever been involved in.

“It is imperative that the Government is focussed on securing a deal that will enable both British and European businesses to flourish, investment and innovation to continue and trade to flow.

“This will be the lifeblood that is key to the UK’s future economic success – we cannot afford to see it disrupted or turned off in mid flow.

“Forget all notion of crashing out of the EU without a deal and leaving business to pick up the pieces – focus instead on an orderly and smooth transition.”

Figures from the ONS showed that 47% of UK goods exports went to the EU while just 7% from the rest of the EU came to the UK, in 2015.

In that year, the UK was the tenth largest exporter of goods in the world, with sales of £288bn.

Goods accounted for 55% of UK exports in 2016, outweighing sales of services despite the dominance of the latter in the domestic British economy.

Close crop of flags as Chancellor Philip Hammond (L) and Bank of China chairman Tian Guoli (R) attend the UK-China High Level Financial Services Roundtable at the Bank of China head office building in Beijing on July 22, 2016.
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The intervention from the manufacturing sector is the latest plea from business groups on Brexit.

Sky News revealed on Tuesday that the CBI is writing to hundreds of MPs calling for “an ambitious agreement with the EU that ensures we avoid new barriers to trade and a smooth process without a cliff edge”.

Meanwhile, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is calling for “answers to practical questions, not political posturing” over Brexit.

BCC director-general Adam Marshall said: “A pragmatic and grown-up dialogue on the real-world issues, rather than verbal volleys between London and Brussels, would give firms greater confidence over the next two years.”

Reports by two separate Lords committees have outlined the importance of seeking a free trade agreement both for the goods trade and non-financial services from fashion to aviation.

Elsewhere there are fears of an exodus of thousands of jobs from the City if as feared financial firms lose “passporting” rights enabling them to sell their services freely across the continent.

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