Representative body, British Glass, has warned that the £1.3 billion UK glass industry could be damaged by rushed Government proposals for zero tariffs if there is a no-deal Brexit.
British Glass and the Manufacturing Trade Remedies Alliance (MTRA) are fighting a proposal from Liam Fox, the International Trade Minister, to introduce ‘most favoured nation zero tariffs’ on all goods imported into the UK, and called for Parliamentary scrutiny before the measure goes ahead.
Dave Dalton, Chief Executive of British Glass, said: “From a manufacturing position, this is a dangerous intervention, which is likely to see the UK flooded with consumer goods priced at a market advantage against domestically manufactured goods here in the UK.”
The UK’s high volume glass manufacturing sector currently employs over 6,500 workers directly and another 115,000 in the supply chain.
Mr Dalton continued: “As a proposed unilateral move, this will also affect our ability to export, as our goods will still attract the same tariffs they currently experience in overseas markets. Such an intervention can only lead to a clear risk to jobs, business and the economy.”
British Glass and other members of the MTRA have approached their MPs to fight Dr Fox’s move. They argue that the legislation should be open to the full detailed scrutiny of Parliament so that Government will reconsider and take a more long-term approach to the welfare of the UK economy and manufacturing.
Mr Dalton added: “The aim of the Alliance has been to work with Government to develop a UK Trade Remedies regime aimed at protecting UK industry once we have left the EU. It is important to ensure UK manufacturing continues to enjoy the level of safeguards it currently has as part of the EU, and ensures a level playing field for imported goods.”
It is expected that a Statutory Instrument will be introduced early this week (possibly today or tomorrow).
Mr Dalton concluded: “It is clear from current economic activity and decisions being taken by internationally owned companies that the level of investment in UK industry is stalling as a result of uncertainty surrounding Brexit. Businesses are nervous about making investment decisions to ensure that the UK continues as a high technology, highly skilled manufacturing base, properly equipped and able to compete in the global market place.”
Pictured: Dave Dalton, Chief Executive of British Glass, at Glass Focus 2018