Since the referendum the MTA has consistently favoured an outcome to the process that enables our members to have as full access to the single market as possible. This entails no tariffs, frictionless movement of goods and people with the EU and regulatory alignment so as to minimise non‐tariff barriers. We have also been clear that a ‘No Deal’ cliff edge would be a serious problem with the resulting uncertainty likely to cause both a reduction of investment and a crisis of economic confidence.
The outcome that the Prime Minister intends to put to a vote on the 11 December shows that the Government has come a long way towards a more business friendly position and it has much to commend it, especially in comparison to a ‘No Deal’ alternative. It puts trade in goods at the heart of any future relationship and crucially it secures a transition period, essential to enable both sides to negotiate a future status for which businesses can plan with confidence.
Our industry needs a future relationship which delivers us access to the single market on terms that are as similar as possible to the ones we enjoy today. Over the last two years the MTA has not prescribed any particular course of action because the political situation has been so fluid. It remains so. We are not asking MPs to vote one way or another, but we are asking them to prioritise the needs of manufacturing businesses in their constituencies, crucial to the future wellbeing of the economy, who need an outcome which enables the strengthening of partnerships and supply chains that exist now and which, if disrupted, cannot be replaced easily, if at all.
Manufacturing technology is a profoundly global industry; there is no trade‐off between European markets and those in other parts of the world – as an industry we have to compete in all of them. Keeping our European customer and supplier base is essential. In support of this, we have been pleased at the recent success of BSI in maintaining its place in the European Standards body CEN. Trading internationally requires international standards and keeping a seat at the table of the leading world standards body is important for the UK.
So, as we approach a time of ‘crunch votes’ we are asking MP’s to support an outcome which delivers the objective of ‘as full access to the Single Market as is achievable’ and to avoid the potential danger of a chaotic and damaging ‘No Deal’.