The UK lobbies the EU over a Brexit trade deal deadline, raising concerns for carmakers and the industry. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak engages in dialogue with the EU regarding a rule change affecting UK electric cars. Carmakers, including Stellantis, request a deadline extension, fearing tariffs and inability to meet origin rules. EU car trade body and UK industry executives urge for resolution to avoid setbacks and maintain competitiveness amidst global investments in battery manufacturing. The UK faces a narrowing window of opportunity to act.
The UK is lobbying the EU over a Brexit trade deal deadline that carmakers have warned pose a threat to UK industry. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the UK was “engaged in a dialogue” with the EU about a looming rule change that could affect UK electric car hopes.
Carmakers in Britain and the EU have been asking for the rule change to be pushed back. Stellantis, which owns Vauxhall, Peugeot, Citroen, and Fiat, has said that its UK factories are at risk. The company has previously committed to making electric vans in the UK, but now says these plans are under threat. It has warned it could face tariffs of 10% on exports to the EU due to rules on where parts are sourced from.
From next year, 45% of the value of an electric vehicle should originate in the UK or EU to qualify for trade without tariffs. This percentage will rise again in 2027. Stellantis said it was “now unable to meet these rules of origin” due to the recent surge in raw material and energy costs. Europe’s car trade body, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, has also asked the EU to extend the deadline, arguing that the supply chain is not ready.
Rishi Sunak Engages In Crucial Talks With EU To Address Challenges Faced By UK Electric Cars
Speaking to reporters on a trip to Japan, Mr. Sunak said the approaching deadline was “something that car manufacturers across Europe, not just in the UK, have raised as a concern.” He added, “And as a result of that, we are engaged in a dialogue with the EU about how we might address those concerns when it comes to auto manufacturing more generally.”
Mike Hawes, chief executive of UK trade body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said he hoped “some degree of common sense would prevail.” He told the BBC’s Today programme, “It doesn’t need a full renegotiation of the Brexit deal, it just needs an agreement that you won’t impact some of the rules that were due to change next year.” He expressed concern that additional costs could undermine investments in the automotive industry.
Industry experts have expressed concern that the UK is running out of time to develop its own battery manufacturing industry, given heavy investment being made in the US, China, and the EU. Mr. Hawes said the UK had not missed the boat yet, “but the boat has got its engines fired up, ready to go.” He emphasized the need for investments and stated that the window of opportunity is closing amidst the ongoing developments in the global market.