Britain's car industry expects no Brexit agreement by March 2019

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-20 19:12:17|Editor: Yurou Liang
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LONDON, June 20 (Xinhua) -- The British automotive industry called on government on Tuesday to seek an interim arrangement with the EU, because it does not believe a comprehensive agreement can be reached by March 2019 -- just over 20 months' time.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said in a statement that it was time to be pragmatic about what can be achieved in the time available and what the consequences would be if Britain left without a deal.

It said that any new relationship will need to address tariff and non-tariff barriers, regulatory and labor issues, all of which will take time to negotiate.

Without agreed interim arrangements, businesses would be faced with the "cliff edge" and forced to trade under the World Trade Organization rules -- the worst foreseeable outcome for the sector, its employees and the British economy, it warned.

SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said, "Our biggest fear is that, in two years' time, we fall off a cliff edge -- no deal, outside the single market and customs union and trading on inferior WTO terms.

"We need a back-up plan. Having looked at all the alternatives, we need government to seek an interim arrangement whereby we stay within the single market and customs union until that new relationship is implemented," Hawes said.