Mike Hawes from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders told MPs Boris Johnson’s agreement gave certainty to the sector. As well as the deal opening up investment opportunities he said the UK’s roadmap out of coronavirus lockdown could help the motoring industry thrive on the world stage.
Mr Hawes told the Business select committee this morning that while there had been short term “tweeting problems” with the implementation of the deal, there was a “positive side” for investment.
He said: “Don’t underestimate the importance of getting that deal and what that deal says in terms of the UK and its future.
“By that what I mean the huge uncertainty that was hanging over our industry was significant.
“It was the uncertainty that was significant.
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“I’m not saying that suddenly having a deal the cork is out of the bottle and suddenly investment is going to flow like coming out of a champagne bottle, but it helps put the UK back on global agendas.
“Whilst there was uncertainty there, you didn’t know what your future trading relationship was going to be.
“So it was a case of ‘I still recognise the UK but we’re not going to go there because of the uncertainty’, now at least we know what the future will be.”
Most car manufacturers rely on ‘just-in-time’ supply.
The system sees manufacturers hold only a small supply of parts at manufacturing plants, and instead have regular, quick deliveries of small quantities of stock.
Before the end of 2020, there were fears a no deal Brexit would create significant red tape and paperwork, slowing down imports and causing just-in-time production to be unfeasible.
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The motor industry warned a no deal Brexit would mean car factories in Britain being shut down.
While Mr Hawes said there could still be issues with imports after the end of certain grace periods for imports in July, the sector was coping with the new trading relationship under the deal.
The industry leader added the UK’s rapid vaccination programme could give rise for future opportunities while other countries continue to grapple with the pandemic.
He said: “Covid is obviously a global issue.
“We have a pathway out of it and vaccinations potentially ahead of most other countries in the world.
“So, we need to use those advantages.”
So far 17.7 million people have been vaccinated against the virus in Britain – more than one in three adults.
Yesterday the Prime Minister outlined his roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions on England by the end of June helping society and the economy bounce back from the Covid crisis.