UK auto Exec’s – EU deal must come first over US
- When Steven Mnuchin told an audience in Davos this week the US could impose tariffs on UK cars in retaliation for a British tech tax, the US treasury secretary revealed the difficult path London would face in securing a post-Brexit trade deal with Washington.
- But even if negotiations run smoothly in the coming months, UK auto executives insist a transatlantic trade deal will not be the panacea promised by some Brexiters who argue it will offset the pain incurred by leaving the EU. “By some considerable distance, the importance of an EU relationship must come first,” said Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, which represents the industry.
- About 18 per cent of the cars made in the UK are sold to the US, compared with 53 per cent to Europe, according to SMMT data from 2018. For imports, the difference is even starker. Cars imported from the EU account for 69 per cent of the UK market, compared with 1.4 per cent from the US.
- In some instances, executives worry a US deal could actually harm the prospects for UK plants, which are struggling amid falling sales at home and overseas, and rising costs.