Brexit tariffs would cost car industry 4.5 billion pounds a year -SMMT

Nov 29 Brexit-related tariffs would add
at least 4.5 billion pounds ($5.6 billion) a year to the cost of
car imports and exports between Britain and the European Union,
an industry body said, urging Britain to remain in the single
market after it leaves the EU.

Britain exported just under 80 percent of the 1.6 million
cars it built last year and imported over 85 percent of the 2.6
million cars sold in the country. Without single market access,
cars could face World Trade Organisation tariffs of 10 percent,
unless a special deal is struck for the sector.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said on
Tuesday that tariffs could add up to 1,500 pounds to the average
cost of an imported car and its president told the car body’s
annual dinner that the government needed to maintain free trade.

“You, our members, have told us what you want: membership of
the single market, consistency in regulations, access to global
talent and the ability to trade abroad free from barriers and
red tape,” Gareth Jones said.

Britain’s overwhelmingly foreign-owned car industry has been
lauded by politicians as a manufacturing success story in recent
years, but the sector backed remaining in the European Union and
has expressed concern at the prospect of any barriers to trade.

Worries about Britain’s future trading arrangements prompted
Nissan to ask for a pledge of compensation for any
Brexit-related costs before making a major investment in the
country’s biggest car plant last month.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said she wants Britain to
have the best possible access to the EU single market, which
comprises more than 500 million consumers, whilst controlling
immigration, a key concern among many UK voters.

A document photographed in the hands of a Conservative Party
official on Monday said Britain would be unlikely to stay in the
single market but the government denied on Tuesday that the
notes accurately reflected its plans for forthcoming EU divorce
talks.

If it loses full access to the single market, Britain may
still hope to reach special deals for key sectors like car
manufacturing to avoid WTO tariffs on EU trade.

Supporters of Brexit have long argued that British-built
cars would not be subjected to tariffs as the large number of
French and German models sold in Britain would mean neither side
would want to impose any financial barriers to trade.

Popular continental brands such as Volkswagen,
Peugeot and Renault do not build in Britain.

($1 = 0.8005 pounds)

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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