In this week’s poll we’re asking readers of The Engineer whether you think the historic EU-UK trade agreement will be good or bad for UK manufacturing?
After more than four-and-half years of toxic debate and damaging uncertainty that has stalled investment and undermined business confidence, the conclusion of an EU-UK trading agreement has been greeted with relief across industry.
For many businesses across the UK manufacturing and engineering sectors a no deal scenario – triggering the overnight disappearance of tariff free trade with the EU – would have been a disaster. Indeed, fears over the consequences of such a turn of events were the overriding concern of respondents to our very own business confidence survey, which was published last month.
The fact that this has been avoided means that companies can now look ahead with some clarity, and begin making plans for the future.
However, there are still areas of concern. Whilst a deal has apparently reduced the risk of Kent being turned into a lorry park, post Christmas cross-channel traffic levels are currently relatively low, and the true impact of extra regulatory and border checks will only become apparent in the weeks and months ahead. And for many businesses, particularly those who rely on the seamless movement of goods and components across EU borders, the change – though not as damaging as it could have been – is still far from welcome.
In this week’s poll we’re asking how our readers are feeling about the deal, and specifically what impact you think it will have on UK manufacturing and engineering.
Will the manufacturing base be left weaker by a deal that complicates our trading relationship with our biggest partner? Or is does it provide an improved framework for UK businesses? Is it too early to tell what impact it will have? Or perhaps – like many – you feel that whatever imperfections it may or may not have, an end to much of the uncertainty that has dogged the UK economy for almost five years will have a rejuvenating impact on industry.
As always, as well as voting in the poll, we welcome your comments on this issue below the line.