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Brexit: no unilateral concessions in favour of the UK


28 Mar 2017


Innovation & Enterprise
UK in Europe

Frankfurt/Brussels, 28 March 2017 – Even after Brexit, the UK will remain an important trading and investment partner for European companies, which is why the German mechanical engineering industry association VDMA is calling for swift and transparent discussions over Britain’s departure from the EU. But the need for fair negotiations means there can be no unilateral concessions in favour of the UK. Upholding the European Single Market is the main priority for the mechanical engineering industry.

“The Brexit negotiations must proceed swiftly and transparently to avoid unnecessarily burdening the European economy,” says VDMA Executive Director Thilo Brodtmann. “We must not run the risk of having no agreement in place two years from now. That would result in major distortions in bilateral trade. One thing that is clear, however, is that ensuring the long-term survival of the European Single Market is more important for the industry than the short-term facilitation of trade with the UK. That’s why an agreement with the EU must not be made more appealing than EU membership. The UK cannot have a special position as a hanger-on.”

Other EU member countries are the largest export market for the German mechanical engineering industry. In 2016, German mechanical engineering firms exported goods worth EUR 72.5 billion to other EU member countries, representing more than 46% of all the exports from this sector. Last year, the UK was the fourth-largest export destination for the German mechanical engineering industry, at EUR 7.4 billion, following the USA, China and France, and it is the sixth-largest foreign investment location for our industry.

VDMA (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau, Mechanical Engineering Industry Association) represents more than 3,200 mostly medium-sized companies in the capital goods industry, making it the largest industry association in Europe.