BREXIT? WHO KNOWS… BUT IT WON’T BE SIM­PLE

Autocar - - A CARVOYANT’S GUIDE TO 2019 TOP TIPS - JA

Re­gard­less of your po­lit­i­cal view, we can all agree that Britain’s with­drawal from the Euro­pean Union hasn’t ex­actly been smooth or pre­dictable. And events un­fold­ing in West­min­ster and Brus­sels mean that, at the time of writ­ing, no­body re­ally knows what will hap­pen.

Which, for multi­na­tional car firms with tight pro­duc­tion chains that cross the UK/EU bor­der re­peat­edly, is a mas­sive dose of wholly un­wel­come uncer­tainty in an al­ready tur­bu­lent mar­ket. And multi­na­tional car firms hate uncer­tainty.

So here’s how things stand. At 11pm on 29 March, Britain will ab­so­lutely, def­i­nitely leave the EU. Prob­a­bly.

When/if Britain leaves, re­la­tions be­tween the two will be gov­erned by a with­drawal agree­ment – if the UK par­lia­ment ap­proves it in a vote, which may or may not take place mid­jan­uary. Should that not hap­pen, a new deal may be agreed, or Britain will leave with­out one. Or de­lay Brexit. Or stage a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum. Crys­tal clear so far, right? If Britain leaves with a with­drawal agree­ment, things should con­tinue pretty much as they are un­til 31 De­cem­ber 2020, by which point a full trade deal will or won’t have been agreed. If Britain leaves with­out a deal, cross­bor­der re­la­tions might be cov­ered by World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion rules or some other yetto-be-de­ter­mined sys­tem (rock paper scis­sors, any­one?). And that may or may not cause huge dis­rup­tion to man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries – in­clud­ing the car in­dus­try – with short-time­line pro­duc­tion chains that rely on tar­iff- and de­lay-free move­ment across the bor­der.

It’s not just in­dus­try that could be af­fected: you might need an In­ter­na­tional Driv­ing Per­mit to drive in the EU, have to sort dif­fer­ent car in­sur­ance, or likely need a visa waiver to en­ter Euro­pean coun­tries.

Sim­ple, right? Well, no. Frankly, try­ing to pre­dict Brexit is an im­pos­si­ble task – which is ex­actly the prob­lem for those peo­ple and firms whose liveli­hoods could de­pend on how and when it hap­pens. What we can pre­dict is that, what­ever form Brexit takes, it will have a ma­jor im­pact on the British car in­dus­try.

Prob­a­bly.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.