European Automotive Manufacturers Association (ACEA):
‘With this interdependence in mind, it is essential that tariff-free trade and an open flow of goods and services are a cornerstone of the ongoing negotiations between the EU and the UK,’ stated ACEA’s director general, Eric-Mark Huitema.
‘Any future trade agreement must, therefore, combine zero tariffs, workable rules of origin, simplified customs requirements and ensure the absence of technical barriers to trade… The clock is ticking for these complex negotiations, and we are very concerned that the time remaining under the transitional arrangement is insufficient, especially given the ongoing COVID-19 crisis,’ warned Huitema.
The unintended consequence of this could be a no-deal scenario. In terms of tariffs alone, this would have a massive impact, with some €6 billion being added to the cost of doing cross-channel trade. ‘Such an outcome would be catastrophic to the automotive sector, and the European economy in general, and should be avoided at all reasonable cost.’
“Brexit negotiations have been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, and the UK’s negotiator David Frost have both been in self-isolation after testing positive for the virus. At the same time, there are questions about how far talks can progress at
present… Therefore, it may be necessary to delay talks, and extend the deadline beyond 31 December. The UK Government originally intended to have a deal in place by June, stating it would walk away if nothing had been agreed – a move that is now almost certainly untenable.
“With resources focused on navigating through the COVID-19 crisis, Brexit is almost forgotten about, and without an extension, the UK risks crashing out of the EU without a deal at the end of the transition period.”