During International Trade Questions in Parliament, Ellesmere Port & Neston MP, Justin Madders warned of the potential impact of tariffs on the competitiveness of the UK automotive sector.
Questioning the Minister on Thursday 23rd March, he said:
“The Minister will be aware of statements made by the head of the PSA Group, following the takeover of Vauxhall-General Motors group, that when new models are awarded plants across Europe will be judged on their competitiveness. A 10% tariff on cars would have a huge impact on the competitiveness of the UK car industry, so what contingency plans do the Government have to ensure that the UK car industry remains competitive?”
In response, International Trade Minister, Mark Garnier said:
“The hon. Gentleman is right to raise this point; he speaks on behalf of his constituents in an area that manufactures these vehicles. It is the intention that the UK can achieve tariff-free, customs-free access to the single market. That benefits not only the UK car manufacturers that produce 1.9 million cars, but the European manufacturers that export to the UK.”
Commenting later, Justin said:
“While I am pleased that the Government is pressing for tariff-free, customs-free access to the single market, I am concerned that there still doesn’t seem to be a plan b in the event that they fail.
“When decisions are being made on the locations that will manufacture the next set of models, we need to be in a position to offer the assurances that PSA will require about our future competitiveness.
“Whatever the outcome of our Article 50 negotiations, it is of paramount importance that the Government stands ready to take whatever steps are necessary to protect the vitally important manufacturing jobs at Vauxhall and in the supply chain. I’ll continue to make this case to Ministers at every opportunity”