- Integrity of the internal market more important than quick completion
The eleven-month transition period will begin tomorrow when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. There will be little change for companies during this period initially, but uncertainty about future arrangements between the EU and the UK remains, and a no-deal scenario cannot be ruled out. "All efforts must now focus on working out a fair and equitable trade agreement. If necessary, they must also do so gradually and beyond 31 December 2020," says Wolfgang Weber, ZVEI’s Chief Executive Officer. The agreement must ensure that the environmental, social, tax and subsidy standards of the EU internal market are not undermined. Weber: "The unity of the EU-27 must not be jeopardized in these negotiations. It is more important than a quick agreement negotiated under pressure."
The electrical industry has already felt the effects of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit last year. Between January and November, exports fell noticeably by 9.8 percent to 8.5 billion euros. As a result, the UK slipped to eighth place in the customer ranking. In 2017 it was still in fourth place. Despite all the political entanglements, Weber is counting on the negotiating partners to be reasonable: "So far, it has been possible to avoid a hard Brexit. This must remain the negotiating partners' main goal. The industry must not be further burdened." If no trade agreement can be reached by the end of 2020 and the United Kingdom falls back to WTO status, the German electrical and electronic industry is threatened with customs payments of over 200 million euros per year for exports.