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Friday Brief Archive

2021

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FRIDAY BRIEF

As this is the first Friday Brief of 2021, it still seems appropriate to wish everyone a Happy New Year from everyone in the MTA Team even though we are a full week into the year.

Our lead items this week are, as they were in 2020, around Brexit and Coronavirus.  We have a specific article on the issue of Rules of Origin which are the main determinant of the tariff free trade between the UK and the EU.  The essence of the problem is that the completion of the Brexit process means an increased requirement to show that goods traded between the UK and the EU meet the rules of origin requirements because there is now a border in place.  As a result of the trade agreement that was concluded on Christmas Eve, the general principles have not changed, only the requirement to show compliance in order to claim “free trade”.  We have also included, in a separate article, a range of links on other Brexit related topics which members may find useful.

On Coronavirus, there is also a range of guidance available and we highlight some of this in our item this week, although we recommend that you start from the home page on the gov.uk web-site to get to the topic of interest to you as this will always lead to the latest guidance in an ever changing environment.

We are specifically interested to hear from members if you are having particular problems arising either from the Coronavirus lockdown or trading issues arising from Brexit.  We cannot promise to resolve them directly, but we will take them to someone who should be able to provide an answer.  It will also help us build up a picture of whether or not there are wide-spread problems in our industry or if these are relatively one-off issues.  If you have anything to report, please contact Geoff Noon at MTA (email:  gnoon@mta.org.uk).

Before we move off the topic of trade, we also have an item this week on the new Comprehensive Agreement on Investment between the EU and China.

The main economic news this week was the PMI data for manufacturing which was generally positive with most countries/regions that we track seeing an improvement between November and December.  This included both the UK and the Euro-zone;  there are a handful of countries where the PMI fell in the latest reading but only Greece, Russia and Mexico have the PMI below the crucial 50 level (Japan is exactly on this neutral point).

The other economic news this week is mainly bringing together data that was published before Christmas but after our final Friday Brief for 2020.  The UK National Accounts showed a small upward revision to the GDP estimate for the 3rd quarter of 2020 but unfortunately the detailed investment data that is normally part of this publication has been delayed again.  The CBI Industrial Trends Survey suggests only a modest downturn in manufacturing output with an improvement in order books, although the latter measure is still below its long-run average.  The data from the USA also points to an improvement in business levels in our industry but, again, at relatively low levels.  Finally on this theme, the latest data-set for the BEAMA Contract Price Adjustment service and the 3rd quarter edition of the CECIMO Toolbox are both available.

The MTA Business Survey for December opened at the start of the week and you can let us have your input via the web-site at www.mta.org.uk/mta-business-survey-dec20.

In other articles this week, we have news of a webinar being run by Croner, our HR advice partner, next Thursday looking at the key HR topics for 2021 and details of the conference being organised by ECTA in June.  Our colleagues at NPL have also announced the next in their series of measurement strategy webinars, with this one looking at skills.  There is also news of a new BSI work proposal on robotics and, finally, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult has announced their new CEO who will replace Dick Elsy who retires later this year.

We will be back next Friday with more news from, for and about the manufacturing technology industry - don’t forget, if you have any specific issues that you would like some help or guidance with, please let us know and we will seek out the answer for you and colleagues in the industry who may well be having the same issues.  Until next week, have a good weekend and stay safe.

BREXIT UPDATE - RULES OF ORIGIN

BREXIT UPDATE - RULES OF ORIGIN

One of the key issues arising from the UK-EU trade deal - more correctly known as the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) - is around Rules of Origin.  Businesses who wish to access the preferential tariff treatment negotiated under the TCA must comply with the regulations on rules of origin.

BREXIT UPDATE - GENERAL LIST OF USEFUL SOURCES

BREXIT UPDATE - GENERAL LIST OF USEFUL SOURCES

The full text – all 1287 pages of it! – can be downloaded at https://protect-eu.mimecast.com/s/7lu1CNOjqCMZY3umbagg?domain=assets.publishing.service.gov.uk.  This may be useful as there are occasional references to specific pages where detail of exceptions to general rules are detailed.

While Rules of Origin looks likely to be a significant issue to resolve around Brexit, there are a range of other issues arising from the UK-EU Trade & Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

CRONER HR WEBINAR

CRONER HR WEBINAR

MTA has a partnership with advice company Croner through which our members can get specific advice on HR issues.  They have produced a guide to key HR topics that will come up in 2021, including:

EU - CHINA AGREEMENT

EU - CHINA AGREEMENT

The EU and China have just announced an agreement in principle in the negotiations for a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI).  In a statement which is available at https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_20_2541, the European Commission (EC) said that China has committed to a greater level of market access for EU investors than ever before, including some new important market openings.  However, it is important to note that this is not a full trade deal.

NEW CEO FOR HIGH VALUE MANUFACTURING CATAPULT

NEW CEO FOR HIGH VALUE MANUFACTURING CATAPULT

The Board of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult (HVM Catapult) has announced that Katherine Bennett, currently Senior Vice President, Airbus in the UK, will succeed Dick Elsy when he retires as CEO of the Catapult later in 2021.  The announcement follows a formal recruitment process led by the Chair of the HVM Catapult, Allan Cook CBE.

You can find out more about this at https://hvm.catapult.org.uk/news/hvm-catapult-new-ceo/.

NPL MEASUREMENT STRATEGY SKILLS EVENT

NPL MEASUREMENT STRATEGY SKILLS EVENT

The next event from the NPL Manufacturer Measurement Network (MMN) on measurement strategy will focus on skills.

To produce a suitable and robust measurement strategy, the people responsible for this need to have the requisite skills and knowledge in measurement and the manufacturing process.  The NPL event will identify these needs and how they can be met through suitable training.

ECTA CONFERENCE 2021

ECTA CONFERENCE 2021

Following the cancellation of the 2020 conference, ECTA (European Cutting Tool Association) will hold its 2021 event from 17th to 19th June.  It will take place in Bordeaux and is being organised by SYMOP (the French member of ECTA).

You can get more information on the event from the web-site at http://www.ecta-tools.org/conference/ and you can register for the event and make your hotel reservation at this site.

PURCHASING MANAGERS’ INDEX (PMI)

PURCHASING MANAGERS’ INDEX (PMI)

The Global analysis of the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing produced by J P Morgan using the data from IHS Markit reflected the general improvement in most countries and regions in December and the global reading of 53.8 is one of the highest over the past decade.  This article only refers to the PMI for the manufacturing sector.

ECONOMIC NEWS

ECONOMIC NEWS

UK National Accounts & Investment, 3rd Quarter 2020:  Just before Christmas, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the national accounts for the 3rd quarter of 2020;  this saw the quarterly growth rate for GDP revised up slightly to +16.0% (previously +15.5%).  Of course, this record high rate of growth is mainly a bounce from the record decrease of -18.8% in the 2nd period of the year.

MTA BUSINESS SURVEY

MTA BUSINESS SURVEY

The MTA Business Survey for December was launched at the start of the week.  Although this is one of our slightly longer quarterly surveys, we would encourage all MTA members to take part.  It only takes a couple of minutes to give your input (and you don’t have to answer all of the questions if you don’t want) and the survey gives us and you a good overview of the level of activity in the manufacturing technology sector.

CORONAVIRUS - NEW LOCKDOWN GUIDANCE

CORONAVIRUS - NEW LOCKDOWN GUIDANCE

Announcements this week have placed the UK in a new phase of lockdown although with differences in approach between the 4 nations.  In general, the advice is to stay at home, including to work from home where you can;  however, manufacturing is specifically listed as an area which can stay open in all areas.