The aerospace industry needs urgent agreement on a transition deal to ensure a smooth UK exit from the European Union, ADS President Colin Smith said at the ADS Annual Dinner last night.
The newly appointed President of the trade association for the UK’s aerospace, defence, security and space sectors called for a transition to be agreed quickly to offer industry reassurance and certainty.
Smith said: “We need urgent agreement on the UK’s transition to its new status in Europe.
“With little more than a year remaining before the Government’s March 2019 deadline, we need to know there will be time for business to prepare for the new relationship between the UK and our European partners.
“Detailed negotiations are only just beginning, and key questions about customs arrangements, regulatory regimes and the status of skilled workers will not be agreed for some months.
“A transition agreement must be secured early this year to retain our existing arrangements in full for as long as necessary to guarantee a smooth transition.”
ADS has written to the UK and EU chief negotiators to urge both parties to agree a transition period as soon as possible that:
- Should be no shorter than two years; and
- Maintains the current status quo for businesses in the UK and the EU27, by continuing the UK’s status as an EU member until the end of the period.
ADS Chief Executive, Paul Everitt, said: “Our industries are global and our success is dependent on our ability to compete in international markets.
“As the UK and the EU continue to negotiate our long-term relationship, businesses of all sizes need to take sensible steps to ensure they are prepared for a range of potential outcomes.
“While we do not know the final terms of a deal, by answering key questions and gathering relevant data, businesses can ensure they are ready to implement changes in a managed way.
“Most importantly, we can act now to maximise our competitiveness and prepare for any outcome to Brexit negotiations by boosting our efficiency, resilience and capacity to innovate.”
Preparing for Brexit
ADS has set out five steps for UK companies to take at the start of 2018 to prepare their business for Brexit:
- Understand the workforce: How many employees are from the EU27, are they in critical roles, and whether they could be replaced if they left the company?
- Assess dependence on EU regulatory regimes: If the UK diverged from EU regulators like EASA and REACH, what would be the potential impact on businesses, their suppliers and customers?
- Assess exposure to customs checks & delays at the border: Are supply chains resilient to border delays, and do existing contracts include penalties for late delivery?
- Prepare for customs compliance and costs: What customs procedures do companies comply with in trade with non-EU markets, and can these be scaled up to cover EU exports?
- Invest in competitiveness: Companies can participate in UK industrial strategy programmes like NATEP, SC21, or Sharing in Growth to help boost their competiveness in preparation for any outcome to Brexit negotiations.